An Extraordinary Entrepreneurs’ Day

8:37:40 AM | 10/12/2021

The Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day, October 13, 2021, is really a special occasion because never before have Vietnamese entrepreneurs faced as many difficulties as now, a time that needs bravery and willpower of not only a talented administrator but also as a “peacetime warrior” who fights hard for his business to survive, recover and develop.

Seventeen years ago, on September 20, 2004, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai signed Decision 990/QD-TTg on Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day under which October 13 was chosen as Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day. This decision aimed to foster the role and tradition of Vietnamese business people as recommended by the President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and leaders of business associations.

The Prime Minister's decision to adopt October 13 Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day has profound historical significance. This was the day President Ho Chi Minh sent a letter to Vietnamese business people shortly after the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

In the letter, President Ho Chi Minh wrote: “… Currently, the Nation-rescuing Industrialists and Commercialists Federation is working to do many things for the sake of the nation. I very much welcome and expect many good results. While other circles in the nation are working hard to gain complete independence for the nation, businesspeople must work to build a stable and prosperous economy and finance.

The government, the people and I will wholeheartedly help the business people in this regard. Public work and individual work always go hand in hand. A prosperous economy comes from a prosperous business of entrepreneurs…”.

Elite entrepreneurs of Vietnam

According to statistics, the country currently has nearly 800,000 active enterprises, which means that Vietnam has the strongest entrepreneur force ever. Entrepreneurs or business owners pay taxes to the State Budget, create jobs for workers, and ensure social security and national economic development.

Over the years, we have witnessed world-recognized Vietnamese billionaires like Mr. Pham Nhat Vuong (Vingroup), Mr. Nguyen Dang Quang (Masan Group), Mr. Tran Ba Duong (Thaco), Mr. Tran Dinh Long (Hoa Phat Group) and Mr. Truong Gia Binh (FPT).

Not only men but women also lead Vietnamese businesses to the vast sea. They are usually called powerful women because of their extremely decisive and effective ways of making development plans and governance strategies. Those elites include Ms. Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao (Vietjet), Ms. Mai Kieu Lien (Vinamilk), Ms. Thai Huong (TH Group), Ms. Cao Thi Ngoc Dung (PNJ); Ms. Pham Thi Viet Nga (DHG Pharma); Ms. Tran Thi Le (NutiFood) and Ms. Nguyen Thi Nga (BRG).

“Be persistent in pursuing your passions and aspirations, constantly dedicating to community progress and national development, conquering your aspirations with your mind and your heart - like many other women, I can do it," said Ms. Nguyen Thi Nga (BRG) whose sharing motivated younger generations and many Vietnamese businesswomen to light up the flame and passion of business to realize dreams.

Constant focus on social responsibility to the community

The prolonged COVID-19 pandemic has brought many businesses to the risk of bankruptcy. Domestic and international supply chains were disrupted by successive distancing periods. New corporate startups declined 13.6% year on year to 85,500 in the first nine months of 2021, with the average registered capital of a new corporate entity was VND14 billion, down 3.1%, while corporate bankruptcies climbed 15.3% to 90,300. From January to September, 45,100 companies registered to halt operations for definite terms, 16.7% more than a year earlier; 32,400 companies ended operations and waited for dissolution procedures, up 17.4%; and 12,800 enterprises completed dissolution procedures, up 5.9%. On average, 10,000 companies withdrew from the market a month.

Indeed, entrepreneurs and enterprises have never faced such a pyramid of difficulties as now because of a sharp drop in aggregate demand that resulted in a steep decline in orders, contracts and output and a sharp slump in revenue. Production, consumption and export supply chains are disrupted.

However, despite numerous and enormous hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies across the country are still exercising corporate social responsibility, upholding the spirit of solidarity and sharing with authorities at all levels in the fight against the pandemic.

According to updated data of the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund Authority, donations to the fund reached VND8,779 billion as of September 30, 2021. Many companies donated hundreds of billions of Vietnamese dong to the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund, including Long Thanh Golf Company, Vingroup, Viettel, PetroVietnam, EVN, VNPT, Thaco, Hoa Phat, Vietcombank, BIDV and ABBank.

Furthermore, companies irrespective of scale across the country have presented financial resources, medical equipment, ambulances, foods and other necessities to localities to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Their kindheartedness is forever recognized and never forgotten by the Government and people of Vietnam. This is also an affirmation: there is no other place in the world where solidarity, care and love are as strong as in Vietnam.

Supporting entrepreneurs and businesses to overcome difficulties

Talking about entrepreneurs and enterprises, we must mention VCCI - a national representative of enterprises and business associations in Vietnam, a prestigious and active member of international trade organizations for nearly 60 years, an agency that has been supporting and standing side by side with the business community in Vietnam.

According to VCCI President Pham Tan Cong, in addition to long-term goals and tasks and regular tasks, VCCI must pay attention to performing urgent tasks, with the immediate one being the support for businesses to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Supporting the business community to overcome COVID-19 is an urgent task that VCCI needs to exert all its efforts on," he said.

To effectively support businesses, on September 17, 2021, the VCCI President signed a decision to establish the Business Council in Response to COVID-19. The council is a special mechanism that connects businesses and industry associations with central, local and international agencies and organizations to work together to respond to COVID-19, mitigate damage, maintain operations, protect businesses, workers and economic activities, and at the same time help the country's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. With the establishment of the council, from now on, businesses have an address to promptly reflect and report their difficulties, problems and issues in connection with COVID-19 pandemic and get guidance and support in response to the plague.

Immediately after its establishment, the council launched the Online Interactive Platform (VCCI-Workplace) to support businesses in responding to COVID-19 - preventing the pandemic and restoring production at the same time. Through this platform, the council receives feedback from businesses around the clock in the fastest manner on difficulties and recommendations for solutions to business operations, merchandise distribution, health services and expenses to meet requirements for disease control and costs for isolated manufacturing. Members of the council, who are representatives from central authorities, will report proposals and solutions sent by enterprises to competent bodies in the quickest manner.

This platform also connects business leaders to cooperate and share information, experiences and solutions to cope with COVID-19 pandemic impacts and acts as a bridge for businesses to exchange trade and support each other during the pandemic time. These activities are carried out on forums of this platform: Breaking News & Recommendations, Production – Labor, Finance – Banking, and Transport & Commodities.

VCCI President Pham Tan Cong said, “If we want our country to move forward to be on par with developed countries by 2045, the Vietnamese business community must also be on par with the business world there in all aspects, not only finance, technology or products, but also culture, lifestyle, business ethics and social prestige. This is a big and challenging goal that VCCI is missioned to lead, promote, and support Vietnamese entrepreneurs and businesses to achieve.”

With the above efforts, VCCI will certainly be a flagship to lead the domestic business world to overcome difficulties and challenges, obtain glorious achievements, and live through the downtime to reach the vast sea and stand on par with great powers of the world."

The Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day honors the contributions of entrepreneurs to societal development and affirms their position in common development. The celebration of the event in this special year is motivational to the elite to move forward, overcome challenges, and contribute to the common development of the country.

By Lan Anh, Vietnam Business Forum