On Tuesday 9 April 2019, delegations of Vietnamese and Dutch women entrepreneurs met in the Melia hotel in Hanoi to discuss women empowerment and business opportunities in Vietnam. The roundtable meeting was organised by DECP and its partner organisation VWEC, the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council, as part of the Dutch economic mission to Vietnam (7-12 April 2019). Aim of the Round Table Meeting was to share experiences in empowering women entrepreneurship and reaping business opportunities in Vietnam.
Women’s entrepreneurship in Vietnam is relatively high compared to other countries in the world. Vietnam ranks 6th globally on women business ownership.
In the roundtable meeting, the Vietnamese women entrepreneurs put forward that women entrepreneurship has improved compared to the generation before. Still there are lots of challenges. Vietnam has always been an agricultural economy; to enhance sustainable growth, more efforts have to be made in stimulating industrialisation and technological development. Access to global markets was mentioned as a second priority. Third, improvement of management skills was said to be high on the agenda.
Vietnamese women entrepreneurs look respectfully at Dutch business women running large and complex organisations and they want to learn from them. Vice versa Dutch women entrepreneurs indicated they were impressed by the high rate of women business ownership and wanted to learn from the Vietnamese how to improve gender balance within the economy and within organisations.
During the roundtable meeting, two initiatives were introduced to strengthen women entrepreneurship in Vietnam. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) has granted a subsidy to a group of Vietnamese women entrepreneurs organisations (with VWEC among them) for enhancing women entrepreneurs’ management skills. The SheTrades initiative aims to create an ecosystem in Vietnam to empower women economically through trade.
The chairs of the roundtable meeting, Mr. Hans de Boer (President of VNO-NCW) and Mdme. Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh (Chairwoman of VWEC), concluded that strengthening the role of women in society remains a high priority. Training and leadership programs, supporting conditions like good day care and opening of international markets are important ways to improve women entrepreneurship.