Products made by community social enterprises which take part in the SERD project. (Photo: laodongthudo.vn)
The SERD project which began in Hoa Binh and Lao Cai province in January 2016 has proven effective in handling socio-economic and environmental issues by promoting entrepreneurship.
60 community businesses employing 15,000 people have benefited from the project, according to Pham Kieu Oanh, Director of the Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives.
“Our business models and solutions have helped people solve their problems and create a dependable livelihood. We have organized workshops and training courses on business development for social enterprises with the involvement of consultants. As a result, project beneficiaries have changed their manner of doing business to a more professional and confident style,” said Oanh.
Bread for the World, a non-partisan, Christian citizens' movement begun in the US to end hunger, sponsored and is participated in the project.
Eva Maria Jogan, the organization’s Director in charge of Vietnam and Laos, said: “The financial cooperation between the Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives and Bread for the World organization started with the implementation of a project strengthening social enterprises for innovative and sustainable rural development in January 2016. However, we don’t consider us as donors but as partners in the framework and ethics of development policies. We do share the same values and principles in striving for a better world.”
Pham Minh Tu, a representative of the MPG Creative Group, a management consulting company and a SERD project participant, said: “The project has achieved 137% of its goal. The selected enterprises had low product value and lacked business management skills and a business development vision. At least 20% of the enterprises have improved their turnover by the end of the project. We strongly believe that the project’s models will be maintained by the social enterprise network and clubs.”
A survey was conducted to select potential social enterprises in agriculture, services, and community tourism in Lao Cai to take part in the project.
“The project developed a network of social enterprises in Bac Ha and Sapa district by establishing two startup clubs. 41 community social enterprises have received support and business consultancy. 11 social enterprises have received seed, bank loans, and support for new product development. Beneficiaries include Sapa O’Chau Travel Social Enterprise, Muong Hoa Cooperative, brocade linen weavers in Lao Chai commune, Sapa district, and Nam Sai commune’s cooperative alliance,” said Thao Thiu Tung, Vice Chairwoman of the provincial Women's Union.
What makes the SERD project stand out from other community development projects is a multi-directional approach in combination with policy advocacy and training. Implementation is flexible, changing or adding components to suit each locality.
Hoang Hung, Deputy Chief of the Office of Hoa Binh province’s Farmers Association, said: “The project’s apprentices are zealous and competent. Although they live in Hanoi, they are ready to visit localities to help local businesses. 11 companies have been selected and each has received up to 2,200 USD. Hoa Binh has established two networks of social enterprises for community development in Tan Lac and Lac Son district.”
Thanks to the SERD project, social enterprises have improved the lives of ethnic minority groups.