The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) represents businesses, employers and business associations in the country. The following is a guest blog by Pham Hoang Tien, Director of VCCI’s Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Center, who shares the organisation’s efforts in developing and sustaining technological capacity.
In my job at VCCI, I get to meet a broad cross-section of the Vietnamese society. You would find that despite the varied interests of the different stakeholder groups, they share similar concerns and desires.
Software developers tell me they want to learn about emerging technologies. Executives from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) tell me new technology can add value to their products and services. Young women entrepreneurs from villages say they need a greater market reach and want to learn how to take their businesses online.
The common denominator is: access to technology can make their businesses better, while the lack of access only hampers their growth and opportunities.
To ensure that our local businesses and workforce can harness technology for growth, productivity and employment, the government of Vietnam has been working on its roadmap, The National Technology Innovation Program to 2020. This programme supports its vision of us becoming a middle-income industrialised country within the next five years.
As it is, micro and small enterprises dominate our economy, accounting for about 96 percent of enterprises in the country. If we want to reach our goal by 2020, we have to accelerate our investments in developing the growth and capabilities of SMEs.
What does that look like in action?
In partnership with Microsoft, we are implementing a variety of technology-related activities and schemes to serve our ecosystem of businesses, entrepreneurs and employees, such as:
- Training workshops for young entrepreneurs and craftsmen in e-commerce
- Training workshops for SMEs on emerging ICT platforms and intellectual property rights
- Supporting SMEs in the agricultural sector in using ICT
I am happy to report that we are already seeing the results. Perfect examples are Ms Han and Mr Hanh from Phu Vinh village, who have been able to create their own website to promote their rattan and bamboo handicrafts, helping them connect with buyers from around the world.
One key word that guides our work is ‘sustainability’, which leads us to always question ourselves: What technology can make a difference to businesses? What is affordable and easy to use? And how do we make sure that skills training workshops create a multiplier effect?
As we work toward long-term outcomes, I am excited to see the results of our work manifest even before 2020—for the villager, the small business-owner and the software developer in Vietnam.