Leveraging Viet Nam’s Social Impact Business Ecosystem in Response to COVID-19 (ISEE-COVID)


Project summary

The project aims to enhance the resilience of Social Impact Business (SIBs) in Viet Nam and contribute to reducing the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable groups, especially women and girls. The project will focus on 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 to 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 impacts, with a particular focus on SIBs that are led by women and vulnerable groups. The project will apply an ecosystem approach to tackle the inter-connected and systemic challenges that SIBs face. In particular, it will: (i) improve the capacity of SIBs themselves; (ii) build the capacity of and coordination between SIB intermediaries, and (iii) strengthen government policy-making capacities towards SIBs.


SIB is a model in which businesses adopt a triple bottom line, driving profit, together with social and environmental impact. There are an estimated 22,000 SIBs in Viet Nam, representing 3% of total number of registered businesses in the country.[1] SIBs play a crucial role in providing support for vulnerable groups, mostly by creating jobs for them and delivering essential services. However, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Viet Nam’s society and economy, the positive impacts SIBs can deliver to such vulnerable groups are being eroded. This, coupled with existing institutional and operational challenges to the development of the SIB sector, means even greater challenges facing SIBs, especially SIBs led by women and different vulnerable groups.

[1] CSIE and UNDP, ‘Fostering the growth of the Social Impact Business Sector in Viet Nam’, (2018). Available at: https://www.vn.undp.org/content/vietnam/en/home/library/SIB.html

Project Outcome

  • Ultimate Outcome: Increased resilience to COVID-19 of vulnerable groups, including women and girls in Viet Nam, through support to SIBs and the supporting ecosystem.

  • Intermediate Outcome 1: Improved effectiveness of SIBs, especially those led by women, to address the social and gendered impacts of COVID-19 and help achieve the SDGs.

  • Intermediate Outcome 2: Strengthened gender-responsive, inclusive, and regulatory environment to support the resilience of SIBs, especially those led by women and vulnerable groups.

Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) component


​​​​The project will prioritize supporting SIBs and intermediaries led by women. In all capacity building activities, the project will ensure equal representation of women and integrate topics on specific needs of women. The project’s knowledge outputs will include research reports, capacity building materials, videos, etc. and will address gender-responsive aspects, and will be published publicly so that the wider community of SIB ecosystem stakeholders and different vulnerable groups can also benefit from them. Besides, the project also aims to strengthen the SIB policy making capacity of the government, so the policies are gender-responsive, inclusive, and transparent. The project will collaborate closely with national and local authorities, intermediaries, focusing on women empowerment to ensure the voice and needs of women will be heard and reflected in policies supporting SIBs.



May 2021


April 2024




Viet Nam


United Nations Development Programme


Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development






Full Project information