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Rural Women Pitch Their Innovative Start-up Ideas in Vietnam

SNV's "Enhancing Opportunities for Women Enterprises’ (FLOW/EOWE) programme focuses on supporting rural women in entrepreneurship by addressing the systemic barriers that many rural women face when launching their businesses. One of the key challenges for rural women to launch start-up initiatives is access to capital to promote their initiatives and turn their ideas into a viable businesses. In mid-August 2018, SNV together with the Provincial Women’s Union, organized the Women Business Start-up 2018 event in Binh Thuan, a province on the south-central coast in Vietnam, where 16 women had the opportunity to present their innovative start-up ideas and connect to relevant stakeholders to take their start-ups to the next level.

The event was a follow-up of the National Platform “Women Business Start-up: Innovation and Connection” that was organized by SNV and the Vietnam Women’s Union in December 2017. The aim of the Platform was to discuss challenges and opportunities for women-led businesses, develop solutions, and provide policy recommendations for the Vietnamese government to boost women's entrepreneurship and promote gender equality. The National Platform also marked the official kick-off of the National Women-led Business Start-up Programme (NWBSP). Under the NWBSP, which is being implemented by the Vietnam Women’s Union, women can submit innovative start-up ideas and receive support to accelerate their own businesses.

In Binh Thuan province, after five months of due diligence assessments, more than 400 women business start-up initiatives have been approached in rural, island, and peri-urban areas. Out of the more than 400 start-up ideas, 16 were selected by a selection committee consisting of SNV, the Binh Thuan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, the Department of Industry & Trade, the Center for Supporting Enterprises, and the Binh Thuan branch of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry. At the Women Business Start-up 2018 event, the 16 selected applicants presented their innovative business ideas to the Appraisal Board and other investors, including the Provincial Bank for Social Policies, the Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development, and other commercial banks.

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