Launch of “COVID-19 Adaptation Programme for SIB”, ISEE-COVID project

Opening remarks by Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam

April 28, 2022

Mr. Brian Allemenkinders, Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Canada to Viet Nam

Mr. Le Manh Hung, General Director, Agency for Enterprise Development, Ministry of Planning and Investment

Representatives from MPI and line ministries

Representatives from the Social Impact Business’s ecosystem,

Media representatives;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a great honor for me to join you at the Launch of the “COVID-19 Adaptation Programme for Social Impact Businesses”. This is the flagship support for SIBs in the “Leveraging Viet Nam’s Social Impact Business Ecosystem in Response to COVID-19”- ISEE-COVID project.

You may be asking why we name this programme “Covid-19 adaptation”. The COVID-19 situation in Viet Nam is improving, thanks to the outstanding efforts of the Government, public and private sectors, and the Vietnamese people. We have all been grateful for the rapid and equitable roll-out of the vaccination programme in Viet Nam over the last year. Recent data also showed that the number of cases is decreasing, and Viet Nam is coming back to normal life step by step. However, the adverse effects of COVID-19 on the businesses, especially those led by the vulnerable groups, are still prolonged and damaging.

The report published by UNDP in August 2021 showed that household businesses and micro, small, and medium enterprises found their revenue declined sharply, forcing them to cut back operations and lay off workers. The negative impact included a reduction in employment and income. This impact is exacerbated among female-headed households. At the beginning of the project, our baseline assessment showed similar results: nearly 47% of interviewed SIBs had their revenue reduced due to COVID-19. Businesses with the highest percentage of revenue reduction belonged to the groups of SIBs employing people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and cooperatives.

The “COVID-19 Adaptation programme” is one out of four supporting programmes to support SIB that UNDP is implementing under the ISEE-COVID project. In the event today, we would like to share detailed information on the programme and encourage SIBs to join us by submitting their Expressions of Interest letters.

The COVID-19 Adaptation programme will help SIBs to:

(i) identify critical challenges due to Covid-19;

(ii) design new business models or develop new products/ services to adapt to Covid-19, and

(iii) build & test prototypes of products/services with the seed funds.

In 2022, the “COVID-19 adaptation programme” aims to support 30 SIBs in the agriculture and tourism industries, focusing on the SIB led by women and vulnerable groups. Each selected SIB will receive a 6-month coaching service and funding of up to 100,000,000 Vietnam Dong to identify, build and test the prototypes or new business models.

We hope that this timely programme will provide the necessary technical and financial support for the SIBs to identify solutions for economic recovery and future growth. Together with other activities of the ISEE-COVID project, this program will help strengthen the resilience and accelerate the development of SIBs in Viet Nam.  This, in turn, is foundational to leaving no one behind and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Since the start of the ISEE-COVID project, we have received a lot of interest from the SIB community in joining the project. I would like to encourage all of us here today to spread the word to eligible SIBs to apply for participation in the programme. We look forward to reading and listening to innovative ideas from the SIBs as they solve their own business challenges while creating social impact at the same time.

I would like to thank MPI for its excellent leadership and collaboration in implementing the project, and the Canadian government for their partnership and financial support for this critical initiative. UNDP looks forward to strengthening our partnership for building a vibrant social impact business ecosystem in Viet Nam, that prioritizes women and vulnerable groups in its design, leadership, and delivery of benefits.  

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