VWEC: Ongoing Innovation and Renovation for Development

1:22:23 PM | 28/5/2021

Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council (VWEC), the first and largest agency representative of female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses in Vietnam, has made valuable contributions to the growth of the women-owned business community in the past 20 years. To find out more information, our reporter has an interview with Madam Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh, Chairwoman of VWEC. Quynh Anh reports.

Vietnam is increasingly integrating into the world, including signing many free trade agreements. How has VWEC been involved in this process?

One of VWEC’s functions and tasks is to advise the Executive Committee of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to propose to the Party and the Government relevant legal and policy issues; and protect the legal and legitimate interests of female entrepreneurs in domestic and international business relations. When Vietnam is negotiating free trade agreements, the council gathers opinions of member enterprises and consults VCCI to give constructive ideas to the negotiator teams.

In the context of deep integration with the world economy and Vietnam signing many new-generation free trade agreements, VWEC has coordinated with partners to organize conferences and seminars to improve knowledge, updating information for female entrepreneurs, identifying challenges and opportunities, locating businesses and determining priorities in their development strategies when FTAs take effect; cooperated with relevant agencies and invited experts to introduce FTAs, their advantages and challenges, and suggest ways to approach such advantages and prepare to respond to those challenges to women-led enterprises.

Digital transformation is not only a trend but an inevitable development course of global economies, including Vietnam. How are women-led businesses in Vietnam grasping this trend?

Vietnam currently ranks third in ASEAN in the size of the digital economy. Digital technology has also been strongly applied in Vietnam's industry, agriculture and service. However, the level of readiness for the digital transformation of Vietnamese enterprises is still generally low.

The survey on the digital transformation of women-owned micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) conducted by VWEC in March 2021 showed that most women-owned MSMEs (99% of respondents) are interested in investing in technology initiatives to enhance business performance but, in fact, they are still confused about how to deploy, pick appropriate technology solutions, determine breakthrough stages and carry out steps and rules for digital transformation. Only 18.45% responded that they have integrated digital transformation into their business development strategies, while 17.5% applied technologies to automate key activities such as purchasing, inventory management and 30% applied information technology software to financial management, accounting and human resource management. Despite being aware of opportunities and benefits of digital transformation, women-owned MSMEs are still facing numerous challenges and difficulties such as insufficient understanding, knowledge and skills in digital transformation, limited financial resources and technical personnel.

The Government of Vietnam already issued the National Digital Transformation Program to 2025, with a vision to 2030 (Decision 749/QD-TTg dated June 3, 2020); the National Strategy on Industry 4.0 to 2030 (Decision 2289/QD-TTg dated December 31, 2020) and the Business Support Program for Digital Transformation in 2021-2025.

VWEC also grasped the digital transformation megatrend very early, actively put forth proposals to relevant bodies and coordinated with domestic and international partners to launch skills training courses on digital technology, online marketing skills and capacity building for women entrepreneurs in the digital economy. VWEC is supporting women-owned enterprises to improve their capacity and adapt to the changing environment in the context of Industry 4.0 such as organizing seminars/forums to exchange digital transformation methods and processes for businesses, as well as training digital employees.

On the occasion of the 20th founding anniversary of the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council, what would you like to share with the Vietnamese women-led business community?

Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council (VWEC), founded by VCCI, is the first and largest representative agency for female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses in Vietnam. Today's VWEC growth results from the highly professional enabling working environment of VCCI, the solidarity and cooperation of VCCI units, and the position and reputation of VCCI in the country and in the world. That professionalism has built up trust with governmental agencies, international friends, the business community and business associations nationwide, including Vietnamese women entrepreneurs. We especially treasured the contribution of the first Chairwoman, Hoang Thi Duong Ha, who laid the foundation for VWEC establishment, and Chairwoman Tran Thi Thuy, who elevated the VWEC status. I am just a successor who is trying to uphold and preserve the "legacy" left by them and bring that "legacy" to its true value.

The 20-year VWEC development indispensably results from the direction and leadership of the Party, the Government, the Party Committee, the VCCI Executive Committee, especially President Doan Duy Thanh and President Vu Tien Loc of VCCI, the effective cooperation and support of central and local agencies, and domestic and international partners. Particularly, VWEC has received the support and cooperation of the business community, women entrepreneurs in Vietnam, ASEAN and APEC. The trust and enthusiastic participation in VWEC-organized activities is greatly motivational for us to constantly innovate and reform our activities to match members’ needs and expectations.

On this opportunity, I would like to express my deep gratitude to leaders, partners and the Vietnamese women business community for guiding, supporting, coordinating and responding to VWEC’s activities.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum