New entrepreneurship development project for women in central Viet Nam

03 Oct 2001

Ha Noi - A women entrepreneurship development project was launched here today jointly by the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in collaboration with the People’s Committee and Womenÿs Union of Da Nang City. The new project aims to assist women entrepreneurs in the food processing sector to further contribute to alleviating poverty in the three central provinces of Thua Thien - Hue, Quang Nam and Da Nang.

The total value of this three-year project is US$594,000, which is jointly provided by the Japanese Women in Development Fund administered by UNDP, and the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium administered by UNIDO. The project will be implemented by the Women’s Union of Da Nang city.

The new project builds upon UNIDO’s accumulated global experience of similar projects in several other countries in the world, and especially on the experience of a pilot project carried out in five provinces in northern Viet Nam during the 1996-1999 period,” said the UNIDO Representative, Mr Markku Kohonen. The pilot project focused on training of trainers and women entrepreneurship in food industries. The training package developed in this pilot project will be used, with some adaptations, in the new project to train women entrepreneurs in the central region.”

Women entrepreneurs receive less training than their male counterparts. Statistics from 1992-1993 in the areas of technology and industry show that only 19.9 per cent of women entrepreneurs received training whilst the proportion was 47.2 per cent for their male counterparts.

In Da Nang city, in particular, a preliminary survey shows that hundreds of women work in household type of businesses in the food-processing sector. Many of these small-scale food-processing units, however, are unable to compete with the imported food items. Lack of technological know-how, management and marketing skills; unawareness of hygiene conditions required in the food processing; and especially, limited access to credit are often mentioned by women's entrepreneurs as their biggest constrains.

This new project will provide training in technological know-how, management and marketing skills for 20-25 trainers who in turn will train at least 300 women entrepreneurs involved in food processing at micro or small-scale level in the three provinces. The training aims to enable these women entrepreneurs to improve their turnover and capital investment, thus creating more jobs and increasing income for women in these provinces.

The project will help establish a Rural Resource Centre for training of food processing technology at Da Nang Women's Union Training Centre. The project will also build the capacity of the Union in implementing Ñlarge training projects for women entrepreneurs, so that the Union can further conduct training after the project completion. In addition, the project is expected to enable the Union to maintain an active network of entrepreneurs and credit and training institutions to further support women entrepreneurs in the three provinces.

When we think of the future beneficiaries of this project, we are certain that the new Enterprise Law and the changing enterprise environment will help them tremendously to have success in the future in their own enterprises, said Mr Edouard A. Wattez, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam. A vibrant private sector is essential to provide jobs and incomes for the rapidly growing labour force, of which more and more are women.” He noted that this project responds directly to some of the challenges put upfront by the Government of Viet Nam in the Strategy for the Advancement of Women and the corresponding Plan of Action 2 which call for: Substantially increase the material and spiritual life of women. Develop their human capital, (i) Promote employment and poverty reduction for women and to (ii) Strengthen vocational training and women's access to economic resources. This project can play an important demonstrating role in this respect and we shall put all efforts together to ensure that it will provide important lessons learned that can be utilize as guidance for policy makers,” said Mr Wattez.

Contact Information

Nguyen Viet Lan, UNDP Public Information Assistant

Tel: (04) 942 1495 (ext 186) Fax: (04) 942 2267