Vietnam Business Challenge Fund closes 3 years of creating lasting impact

Vietnam Business Challenge Fund closes 3 years of creating lasting impact

In November 2015, the Vietnam Business Challenge Fund (VBCF) officially closed. Capitalised by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by SNV, the VBCF was launched back in 2012 with the specific mandate to provide financial and business-mentoring support to innovative, inclusive and commercially viable business ventures.

Over the past three years, VBCF has been supporting more than 20 inclusive business ventures across agriculture, low carbon growth, infrastructure and basic services.

Together, these businesses have delivered an amazing impact:

  • nearly 11,000 new jobs have been created, of which 8,200 are for low-income people

  • more than 260,000 people, including 167,000 low-income, have seen increases in their incomes

  • nearly 6 mil. people, including 4 mil. low-income, have gained access to basic goods and services

  • nearly 6 mil. people, including 4 mil. low-income, had savings

  • sales value of USD 123 mil. has been generated from total investment of USD 20.6 mil., of which USD 4.9 mil. comes from VBCF

“The strength of the Vietnam Business Challenge Fund lies in its unique approach – catalysing business innovative ideas that create ‘win-win’ benefits for businesses and the low income population. The Inclusive Business models funded by VBCF delivered not only commercial benefits for the company but also social impact for the poor in Vietnam.” – Ann Freckleton, Head of UK Department for International Development in Vietnam.

The VBCF demonstrates the confidence of DFID and its like-minded partners, including SNV and Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD), in the challenge fund approach and inclusive business model. The VBCF helps catalyse the ambition of the private sector into tangible business ventures. VBCF has shown that the creativity and capacity for innovation of the private sector in Vietnam is abundant. During the closing event of the VBCF, the team and companies showcased the life-changing impacts, shared lesson learned and discussed scaling up opportunities of VBCF-supported business initiatives. Beneficiaries also shared their real-life stories about how VBCF impact on their families’ and their own lives.

“Following the success of the Inclusive Business models funded by VBCF, we would like to share the potentials to grow of these models, as they are pivotal for sustainable development and poverty reduction. We want to get other people interested in it: the government, other donors and a wider range of private sector partners. We hope the donors will have more similar Challenge Funds. We also hope that the models supported by the VBCF will inspire other businesses to do inclusive businesses. Together, we can deliver at scale and unleash the potential of the private sector in a way that hasn’t been seen before in Vietnam.” – Ann Freckleton added.

VBCF is a flagship programme in Vietnam on how the private and public sector can work and invest together to achieve social impact at scale and at the same time create a competitive advantage for the companies. This work made a great contribution to improving the competitiveness of Vietnam by increasing productivity, driving innovation and enhancing efficiency.

"VBCF achieved impact at scale and guess what this impact is sustainable because right now, at this moment, when we are officially closing the programme, in many places all over Vietnam, these companies are doing business with millions of low income people by enabling them to have a job, increase their income and/or have access to a LED lamp, medicine, clean drinking tap water, a cook stove, a biogas plant, a money transfer, etc. But the most important thing is this will continue tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and will continue wherever there is a business opportunity for both the companies and the low income people." - Miguel Mendez, Country Director SNV Vietnam. SNV is proud to deliver the VBCF to Vietnam and we look forward to continue contributing with our experience and knowledge in supporting the private sector in the design and implantation of inclusive business model to contribute to achieving a sustainable and inclusive economic growth for Vietnam. - Mendez concluded.