INDUSTRIES

First-ever White Book on Social Impact Business launched

The White Book on Social Impact Business in Việt Nam was developed within the framework of the project “Leveraging Việt Nam’s Social Impact Business Ecosystem in Response to COVID-19” (ISEE-COVID).

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SIB Connect 2023 event in Hà Nội on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of UNDP

HÀ NỘI The first-ever White Book on Social Impact Business in Việt Nam 2023 was launched, enabling SIBs to be clearly identified, thereby raising the possibility of them benefitting from support programmes of the government and other stakeholders.

The White Book on Social Impact Business in Việt Nam was developed within the framework of the project “Leveraging Việt Nam’s Social Impact Business Ecosystem in Response to COVID-19” (ISEE-COVID), co-implemented by UNDP and the Agency for Enterprise Development (AED) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) with support from Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

Social impact businesses (SIBs), government agencies, investors and intermediaries gathered at the SIB Connect 2023 event in Hà Nội on Tuesday.

This is the annual festival of the SIB Ecosystem to exchange initiatives, lessons learned, and discuss challenges and opportunities in the ecosystem’s development.

This is also a chance for SIBs to showcase the best quality products, and seek co-operation opportunities and market expansion.

“The White Paper enables Social Impact Businesses to be officially identified, helping them access government support programmes and other programmes. Along with the report on the ecosystem supporting SIB, the White Paper provides comprehensive information and understanding of the ecosystem landscape,” said UNDP Resident Representative in Việt Nam, Ramla Khalidi.

Addressing the event, Brian Allemekinders, Counsellor, the Embassy of Canada in Việt Nam, said that Canada’s development co-operation programme aims, in part, to catalyse private capital for supporting sustainable and inclusive economic development.

“SIBs have played and continue to play a crucial role in contributing to Việt Nam’s progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The launch of the White Book on Social Impact Businesses in Việt Nam signifies Việt Nam’s advancement, recognising not only the business operations addressing social and environmental issues, but also providing a valuable reference database for government agencies to formulate appropriate policies in support of the development of these businesses,” he said.

The White Paper on Social Impact Business in Việt Nam in 2023 was compiled to reflect the development process and recognise important contributions, and provide an overall picture of SIBs in Việt Nam for statistical activities, research, feedback and policy development of domestic and international agencies, organisations and individuals.

In Việt Nam’s thriving and vibrant SIB ecosystem, there are approximately 27,000 SIBs. However, SIBs in Việt Nam, especially businesses owned by or working with vulnerable groups including women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, gender-diverse groups, and other businesses with ideas to solve social and environmental problems, are still facing many difficulties in their efforts to realise the dual goal of driving profit while creating social and environmental impact.

During and after the COVID-19 pandemic, SIBs in Việt Nam face many challenges, including limited management capacity, lack of social impact measurement frameworks and inadequate access to financing.

The ecosystem of SIB intermediaries is also insufficient in terms of quantity, quality and connection. Policies to support SIBs are based on different regulations, making it difficult for SIBs to access.

With an ecosystem approach to tackle these interconnected and systemic issues, the ISEE-COVID project has actively supported improving the capacity of SIBs, building coordination between SIB intermediaries, and strengthening government policy-making capacities related to SIBs.

The project also applied a policy experimentation approach in supporting SIBs at provincial levels, and put in place a framework for impact measurement and monitoring SIBs.

The project’s activities have contributed to creating a dynamic and diverse SIB ecosystem engaging the government, investors, SIB intermediaries and SIBs.

“Although social impact businesses in Việt Nam are still small in number and scale, their positive role in contributing to sustainable development has been recognised, especially in the context that Việt Nam is trying to promote the application of sustainable business principles and models for domestic businesses to help them have better access to foreign markets and green capital,” said Bùi Thu Thủy, AED deputy director.

In parallel with the White Paper launch event, in-depth dialogue activities, business connections, advisor, expert consultation and exhibition of high-quality SIB products were also highlights of SIB Connect 2023.

SIBs are making a wave that changes many aspects of life and business philosophy. Along with economic benefits, more and more SIBs want to make positive social and environmental impacts.

The ISEE-COVID project will continue to be part of this transformative movement, enabling SIBs to not only recover from COVID-19 but also prosper in the long run.

Theo Vietnamnews