Facebook has officially launched #SheMeansBusiness in Vietnam, an initiative that celebrates and empowers women entrepreneurs across the country.
Through a series of workshops, training sessions and online resources, #SheMeansBusiness will arm women entrepreneurs with the knowledge, connections, skills and technology required to build and grow their business online.
The initiative will run in partnership with the Vietnam Women Entrepreneur’s Council (VWEC), an initiative of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), which supports women entrepreneurs through investment and technology development, training and capacity building. The launch event was attended by over 160 Vietnamese women entrepreneurs.
"We are excited to partner with Facebook to introduce #SheMeansBusiness in Vietnam. The programme will help Vietnamese women learn how to start and grow their businesses," Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh, chairwoman of VWEC cum vice president of Central Council of the Vietnam Business Associations, said. "We hope to inspire more women to grow their businesses because the next successful entrepreneur could be anyone. A developed society is reflected by the rising status and role of women and investing in women's entrepreneurship brings benefit and prosperity to countries.”
By not addressing the challenges facing women who want to start a business, Vietnam is missing out on a potential boost to the economy, according to new research released today by Facebook. The study, conducted by Development Economics and YouGov on behalf of Facebook, reveals that 4 in 5 women in Vietnam would like to start a business.
If only half of these women were empowered to start a business today, it would not only boost economic growth, but also help to build 1.1 million new businesses, and create 3.9 million additional jobs – all by the end of 2021.
Despite the fact that entrepreneurship is the engine of economic growth, Vietnamese women still admit to facing many barriers to starting and growing their own business. In Vietnam, the two main barriers to starting their own businesses were: personal financial security (35 per cent) and lack of direction (35 per cent). The research also revealed the lack of access to finance (34 per cent), and the level of readiness to start a business (32 per cent) as additional barriers. Facebook is working with Vietnamese women address these challenges.
“When women do better, we all benefit. #SheMeansBusiness will not only connect entrepreneurial women with empowering tools, peers and networks, but will also raise greater awareness of the importance of women’s entrepreneurship for overall economic and social development," said Clair Deevy, head of Economic Growth Initiatives, APAC at Facebook. "Alongside VWEC, we are closer to making Vietnam an even better place for women to start and run a business.”
Small businesses on Facebook tell a different story with 40 per cent of pages on Facebook being women-owned. New data also indicated that women-owned pages have grown more than 60 per cent year-on-year. In Vietnam, the number of women-owned small business pages grew 2.5 times greater than last year.
Encouraging women entrepreneurs to take the next step is possible by offering access to financial support and advice (54 per cent) as well as support and advice on attracting customers (54 per cent). Aside from that, women surveyed said they are likely to benefit from the network/community of support and advice (45 per cent) and practical support including business or digital skill workshops (36 per cent).
90 per cent of people surveyed also agree that having access to the right digital tools and support would help them get their business off the ground. That is why Facebook is partnering with organisations who have expertise in this area, to provide advice, knowledge and tools to help give more women across the country the practical support they say they need.
“At Facebook, we are committed to creating an environment that fosters entrepreneurship among women. We continuously work with industry leaders and experts to leverage on the untapped opportunity for millions of women while we welcome a new era in women’s entrepreneurship for Asia. We are growing our #SheMeansBusiness initiative, and will continue to work with our partners to empower women entrepreneurs with the right knowledge, training, technology and network that will level the playing field so their businesses can thrive,” added Deevy.