Changes for Stronger, More Responsive Women Entrepreneurs

9:47:01 AM | 11/17/2020

With four seminars featuring speakers who are famous experts, typical female entrepreneurs in ASEAN on solutions to support women-led businesses to actively adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic; promote digital transformation and comprehensive recovery for women-owned businesses; smart investment through gender lens and promoting effective partnerships through networks, the ASEAN Women CEO Summit: “Making changes for a stronger and more responsive women entrepreneur community”, has enhanced the image and position of the Vietnamese Women entrepreneur community in Vietnam’s 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship.

The conference is part of activities hosted by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in the year ASEAN - Vietnam 2020 on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, while continuing the success of the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council in the initiative to organize the APEC, ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Forum, as well as the establishment and operation of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN) for the first term 2014 - 2016. The meeting attracted more than 500 delegates who were representatives from all departments, ministries and sectors of the Vietnamese government, ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Committee on Women, representatives from Embassies, international organizations, experts, and women business associations and female entrepreneurs from ASEAN member countries.

According to Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused heavy losses to the world economy in general and ASEAN countries in particular. The world economy has plunged into a crisis, a severe recession, serious decline in trade, volatile financial market, supply chain breakdown which have potential risks and direct impact on the ASEAN socio-economy, including the ASEAN business community. Therefore, the adaptation in the normal state is necessary for all countries, businesses and citizens.

Assuming the Chairmanship of ASEAN 2020 in the context of the pandemic outbreak, Vietnam has strived to organize many activities in accordance with the theme "Cohesive and responsive ASEAN". From the Chairman’s Statement of the 36th ASEAN Summit (in June 2020), women in ASEAN countries in general and business women in particular have been strongly inspired by the affirmation of ASEAN's commitment to promote gender equality and women empowerment in the digital age.

Vice President Thinh hoped that economic experts from Vietnam, ASEAN and the world, policy makers, and ASEAN women entrepreneurs, would discuss actively and frankly on urgent and practical topics of the summit, thereby suggesting solutions and recommendations to the ASEAN Business Advisory Council and relevant ASEAN summits; contributing to building ASEAN for "a vision, an identity, a community of cohesion and prosperity."

“The Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council and members of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN) have made efforts to overcome current difficulties and challenges and promote cooperation and development in the region," said Ms. Thinh.

She also believed that AWEN would become the leading forum for female entrepreneurs in the region to lead the business community to economic integration; to unite and proactively respond effectively to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change; women entrepreneurs would seize opportunities from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the support of ASEAN member states for strong and sustainable development, for a strong and more responsive ASEAN women entrepreneur community.

With the message “Making changes for a stronger and more responsive women entrepreneur community”, The ASEAN Women CEO Summit 2020 unanimously adopted five recommendations for ASEAN economic leaders to move forward to ASEAN ABAC and relevant ASEAN senior leader’s meetings.

It is to improve access to opportunities and supporting resources, especially financial resources from government, credit institutions, and social institutions for women-owned enterprises to increase their resilient capacity and promptly and effectively respond to the immediate challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and quickly make a comprehensive recovery from the pandemic.

It is important to promote human resource development, strengthen capacity and access new technologies, and equip female entrepreneurs with digital knowledge and tools. It is necessary to facilitate gradual digital transformation for businesses, including women-owned micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in business activities.

Besides, it recommended building a gender responsive ecosystem for business development; strengthening national financial policies, legal frameworks, infrastructure and institutional reforms to encourage capital market creation and promote smart investment through gender lens for business and production activities and services.

The summit supported AWEN's recommendations released in August, 2020: Integrating the Economic Empowerment Program of Women in the ASEAN Economic Community. This is a landmark initiative to increase women's economic empowerment through innovation, inclusive business and human resource development.

The meeting also called for strengthening cooperation among organizations in ASEAN such as the ASEAN Secretariat, the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW), ASEAN ABAC with AWEN to support and guide AWEN's activities, helping AWEN generate more opportunities for women to participate in business activities within and outside ASEAN.

Dr. Vu Tien Loc, Chairman & President, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The formation of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN) is an initiative of Vietnam and has been implemented by VCCI through the leading role of the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council (VWEC). During the six years since its establishment, AWEN has been considered a common home for businesswomen to contribute a voice in policy making as well as promote gender equality and economic development of ASEAN countries.

In the coming time, I hope that AWEN will continue to expand its arms to connect female entrepreneurs in the region, promote the development of the ASEAN economies toward innovation, tolerance and appropriate responses to unpredictable business environments.

Mr. Le Tan Dung, Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs

According to the UNESCAP report, the proportion of women business owners is increasing significantly, with 61.3 million female entrepreneurs. Thus, enhancing women's entrepreneurship not only helps them to strengthen their economic power, but also contributes to the prosperity and inclusive development of the society. However, women have to face some business issues related to marketing capacity, capital resources, and business management skills. In the context of the strong digital transformation, women are in a more difficult position than men, so it is necessary to strengthen the development of skills in techniques, technology and information to take advantage and to better promote their corporate governance and career potential.

“I am confident that the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network will continue to play a leading role in implementing ASEAN initiatives to promote women-owned businesses; strengthening economic power and gender equality in the region. These efforts will contribute significantly to building an ASEAN community that is actively adaptive and flexible in the context of digitalization and emerging global challenges.”

Source: Vietnam Business Forum