Exhibition and Press Conference: Announcement of 30 Social Impact Businesses (SIB) Participating in the “COVID-19 Recovery Program”

Opening Remarks by UNDP Resident Representative Ramla Khalidi

August 3, 2023
UNDP in Viet Nam

Excellency Mr. Shawn Steil, Ambassador of Canada to Viet Nam
Vice Minister Tran Duy Dong, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment
Representatives from the Social Impact Business’s ecosystem, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Xin Chào,

I’m thrilled to join you at today’s Exhibition to announce the 30 Social Impact Businesses (SIBs) chosen for this year’s "COVID-19 Recovery Program" under the ISEE COVID project supported by the Embassy of Canada. It’s been inspiring to walk around the exhibit and to meet many of the SIBs who will embark on this journey of growth and development.

Judging by evidence from last year, this journey promises to be rewarding! 100% of the SIBs selected for the 2022 Program successfully developed new products or services, maintained or increased their revenue -- some by as much as 19 times in comparison to 2021 -- and created more job opportunities, particularly for women and vulnerable groups. I’m delighted to see many of these SIBs with us today.

Colleagues and Friends,

This year’s program garnered interest from 239 social impact businesses in Viet Nam, reaffirming its relevance to the needs of companies. The overwhelming response and the abundance of promising applications made it difficult for our judges to choose the finalists. The 30 SIBs selected to be part of the 2023 Program went through rigorous screening by our project team and pitched their business models to a distinguished panel of judges. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuc, Ms. Pham Kieu Oanh, Mr. Do Tien Sy, and Mr. Do Bui. Thank you for being independent judges and working with our colleagues from MPI’s Agency for Enterprise Development, and UNDP to select this outstanding group of SIBs.  

The SIB finalists possess the most commercially viable business models and the potential for significant impact. I am very happy to see diverse ideas in the sectors of agriculture, tourism, education, and healthcare. Ideas that integrate gender and climate change considerations: From producing high-quality agricultural products using climate-resilient farming methods to utilizing new technology to create decent jobs for persons with disabilities and promoting inclusive education. Addressing people's health is another priority, with SIBs focusing on healthcare for vulnerable groups or applying technology for cleaner air and a better environment.  As the tourism sector gains momentum in its recovery, I hope that creative models combining customer experiences and environmental conservation will take root while preserving Vietnamese culture and heritage. With over two-thirds of the selected SIBs being women-focused enterprises, I am hopeful they will have a substantial impact on women beneficiaries.

On behalf of UNDP, I would like to congratulate all the SIBs selected for this round of support. I hope you will take full advantage of the acceleration program to develop and refine your products and services. We look forward to celebrating your achievements. We believe that this timely program will provide the necessary technical and financial support to help you identify economic recovery and future growth solutions. Combined with the other activities of the ISEE-COVID project, this program will help strengthen resilience and accelerate the development of SIBs in Viet Nam.  This, in turn, will serve as a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Leaving No One Behind.

In closing, I’d like to thank MPI colleagues for your excellent leadership and collaboration in implementing the ISEE-COVID project, and our colleagues from the Embassy of Canada for financial support and fruitful partnership. UNDP looks forward to strengthening our partnership in pursuit of a vibrant social impact business ecosystem in Viet Nam, one that prioritizes women and vulnerable groups in its design, leadership, and delivery of benefits.  

I wish you great health, happiness, and success. Xin cam on.