SIB Connect 2023: Successful Business, Meaningful Impact - First-ever White Book on Social Impact Business Launched

December 12, 2023
UNDP in Viet Nam

Ha Noi, 12 December 2023 – Social impact businesses (SIBs), government agencies, investors, and intermediaries gathered at the SIB Connect 2023 – the annual festival of the SIB Ecosystem. The event provided SIBs with a platform to showcase the best quality products, seek cooperation opportunities and expand their markets . Notably, the first-ever White Book on Social Impact Business in Viet Nam 2023 was launched, enabling clear identification of SIBs and enhancing their access to government and stakeholder support programmes.

The White Book on Social Impact Business in Viet Nam was developed within the framework of the Project “Leveraging Viet Nam’s Social Impact Business Ecosystem in Response to COVID-19” (ISEE-COVID), co-implemented by UNDP and the Agency for Enterprise Development (AED) - Ministry of Planning and Investment, with support from Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

In Viet Nam’s thriving and vibrant SIB ecosystem, approximately 27,000 SIBs operate. However, SIBs, especially those owned by or working with vulnerable groups face difficulties in realizing the of dual goal of driving profit and creating social and environmental impact.

Challenges include limited management capacity, lack of social impact measurement frameworks, and inadequate access to financing. The ecosystem of SIB intermediaries also lack quantity, quality and connection, while policies supporting SIBs are based on different regulations, making it difficult for SIBs to access.

The ISEE-COVID project takes an ecosystem approach to tackle the interconnected and systemic issues, actively supporting SIB capacity improvement, coordinating SIB intermediaries, and strengthening government policy-making capacities. The project’s policy experimentation approach,  impact measurement and monitoring framework, and dynamic  engagement of government, investors, SIB intermediaries and SIBs contribute to a diverse and dynamic SIB ecosystem.

Ms. Bui Thu Thuy, Deputy Director, Agency for Enterprise Development, Ministry of Planning and Investment, said: "Social impact businesses in Viet Nam, though small in number and scale, play a positive role in sustainable development. This has been recognized, especially in the context that Viet Nam is trying to promote the application of sustainable business principles and models among domestic businesses, aiming to enhance their access to foreign markets and green capital.”

UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam, Ramla Khalidi, lauded the achievements of all stakeholders in the Social Impact Businesses ecosystem. She highlighted three significant milestones in its development:
(i) Introduction of the first-ever Vietnamese Impact Measurement and Management Framework for SIBs, aligned with the UNDP global SDG Impact Standard programme;
(ii) Establishment of the Viet Nam-Canada Impact Exchange, facilitatinggender lens investing, impact investment exchange, import-export activities, and creating a join forum on Business Catalysts and Investment Impact between Viet Nam and Canada; and
(iii) Launch of the first-ever White Book on Social Impact Business.

Ms. Khalidi said: “The White Book provides an official identity for Social Impact Businesses, helping their access to government and other supporting programmes. Together with the report on the SIB supporting ecosystem, they offer comprehensive information and understanding of the ecosystem landscape.”

Addressing at the event, Mr. Brian Allemenkinders, Counsellor, the Embassy of Canada in Viet Nam, said: "Canada's development cooperation program aims, in part, to catalyze private capital for supporting sustainable and inclusive economic development. Social Impact Businesses (SIBs) have played and continue to play a crucial role in contributing to Viet Nam's progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The launch of the White Book on Social Impact Businesses in Viet Nam signifies the country's advancement, recognizing not only the business operations addressing social and environmental issues but also providing a valuable reference database for government agencies to formulate appropriate policies in support of the development of these businesses. This initiative creates opportunities for connections and investments with other actors in the ecosystem. The discussions and connections formed during this event pave a clearer path for the development of Social Impact Businesses on a larger scale, fostering deeper engagement in both domestic and international supply chains."

The White Book on Social Impact Business in Viet Nam in 2023 compiles  the development process, recognizes contributions, and provide an overall picture of SIBs for statistical activities, research, feedback and policy development of domestic and international agencies, organizations and individuals.

In parallel with the White Book launch event, in-depth dialogues activities, business connections, advisor consultations, and exhibition of SIB's high-quality products were highlights of SIB Connect 2023.

SIBs are creating waves that change life and business philosophy. Beyond economic benefits, SIBs increasingly strive for positive social and environmental impacts. The ISEE-COVID project continues to support this transformative movement, enabling SIBs to recover from COVID-19 and prosper in the long run.

About the ISEE-COVID project 
The project “Leveraging Viet Nam’s Social Impact Business Ecosystem in Response to COVID-19” (ISEE COVID project), sponsored by Global Affairs Canada, is co-implemented by UNDP and the Agency of Enterprise Development (AED), Ministry of Planning and Investment. The project aims to enhance the resilience of social impact businesses (SIBs) in Viet Nam and contribute to mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable groups, with a particular focus on women and girls.

The ISEE-COVID project has two primary objectives: (i) improving the effectiveness of SIBs, especially those led by women and vulnerable groups, to address the social and gendered impacts of COVID-19 and accelerate the achievement of the SDGs; and (ii) strengthening the regulatory environment for SIBs to be more gender-responsive, inclusive and transparent, thereby supporting the resilience of SIBs to COVID-19 impact, with a particular focus on SIBs that are led by women and other vulnerable groups.

Media contact:
Nguyen Thu Thao, ISEE-COVID Project Communication Consultant, Email: 
Nguyen Hoai Thanh, ISEE-COVID project Focal point personnel, Enterprise Development Agency, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Email: 

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