Inclusive business initiatives showcased at VCSF in Vietnam

Nga Nguyen
By on June 11, 2015

The Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum (VCSF) was organised by the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) in collaboration with SNV and the British Council in Hanoi. Following the success of the first VCSF in 2014, this year’s forum continued to highlight the role of the business sector as a driving force of the sustainable development of Vietnam.

Sustainable business solutions
The forum offered a great opportunity for the business community and related stakeholders to update information on emerging sustainable development trends, discuss sustainable business solutions and share practices, hence exposing the wealth of untapped opportunities available to prospective investors. VCSF 2015 also offered a platform for businesses to make recommendations to the Government on sustainable development issues.

Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam, who is also President of the National Council on Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Capacity, highlighted the Vietnamese government’s commitments to supporting the business community in improving their competitive edge and ensuring sustainable development in the years to come. He added that the government had issued a resolution on improving the business climate and enhancing the national competitiveness. He emphasised that businesses should promote their advantages to secure a firm foothold in the market, boost production activities, seek new outlets and seize opportunities from sustainable trends around the globe.

“Vietnam can be proud”
The Baroness Thornton stated: “Vietnam can be proud of its achievements in the development of sustainable social enterprise models. I’m also very happy to see the successes here. The key factor that makes social enterprises work is people – those with dreams, motivation and desire to address social and environmental issues, those who are proud of their work. In addition, an enabling policy environment is also very important”.

Javier Ayala, SNV Corporate Leader Inclusive Business and Executive Manager of the Vietnam Business Challenge Fund (VBCF) shared SNV’s experience in doing inclusive business in Vietnam through two facilities, namely Vietnam Business Challenge Fund and Inclusive Business Accelerator.

In a breakout session on Inclusive Innovation, led by SNV, private companies and interested stakeholders shared useful knowledge and practices in doing business with the low income markets. Huynh Minh Viet, CEO of BioSpring, one of private companies that VBCF has invested in, shared: “The support of SNV, as the VBCF Manager, has been critical for BioSpring to understand the low income markets, define strategies, innovate and leverage resources to achieve our probiotics business targets”

Big opportunities
It came to a conclusion at the breakout session that globally, inclusive business is proven to be an effective business model for sustainable growth. In Vietnam, there is an obvious trend and there are big opportunities for Vietnamese companies to do inclusive innovations. Companies like Rang Dong, Biosping, Trace-Verified are just a few of businesses that are able to capture the market opportunities and capitalise on public funding to implement their innovations. The low income market is huge, but working with low income people requires not only an innovative, but also responsible and persistent approach.