Vietnam Business Challenge Fund was officially launched in Hanoi on November 28 to support private sector companies in Vietnam to develop new business models that can deliver both commercial benefits as well as have a social impact on low income groups, which includes jobs creation, raising incomes, and access to affordable goods and services.
This is in continuation of UK efforts, through the Department for International Development, to provide non-reimbursable support to innovative, sustainable and inclusive business projects in Vietnam.
VBCF will build on the success of the recently completed Vietnam Challenge Fund (2009-2012), co-funded by the UK and the Asian Development Bank, and managed by ADB.
Although Vietnam has made great strides in lifting millions of people out of poverty, challenges are still ahead. Therefore it is extremely important to target the low income population during this period of economic difficulty, both domestically and globally, to ensure that achievements to date are protected, and opportunities are created for more sustainable development.
The VBCF will provide business mentoring support and award non-reimbursable funding for select proposals to companies operating in Vietnam through an open and competitive process. Funding is available for upto US$800,000 per project that will benefit low income people, be commercially sustainable and replicable in the long run.
VBCF will focus support in three areas identified as key to the continuous development of Vietnam and pro-poor growth, including agriculture, low-carbon growth, infrastructure and basic services.
The Fund has officially announced its first proposals, and invited private businesses to attend the upcoming road shows in HCMC, Da Nang, Da Lat, Dak Lak, Can Tho, Hai Phong and Lao Cai. Interested companies must submit their ‘Inclusive Business Executive Summary’ by January 28.
The VBCF is managed by SNV Netherlands Development Organization, a global and local pioneer in sustainable and inclusive business models. VBCF is implemented with the support of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, European Chamber of Commerce, Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development and SPARK Center for Social Entrepreneurship Development.