In mid-October, the National Final Round of Women-led Startup Contest 2023 took place successfully along with the hearty support of Saigon – Hanoi Bank (SHB) – the leading bank in championing Women-led SME (WSME), promoting the entrepreneurial spirit, fostering talented entrepreneurs and contributing to the national development.
The Women-led Startup Contest 2023, organized by the Vietnam Women’s Union Central Committee under the theme “Women-led startups promote indigenous resources” as one of the key activities in “Supporting Women to start up in the period 2017 – 2025” Project that has been approved by the Prime Minister and implemented since 2018.
This contest aimed to select, award, support incubation and enhance capacity building for woman entrepreneurs and women-led co-operatives/organizations. In addition, this contest was expected to help preserve, develop and raise the value of indigenous resources, grow the business community in alignment with the national strategy on gender equality, local economy restructuring and job creation and income increase for women.
With the desire to empower WSMEs to fulfill their potential in the new era, SHB will provide excellent financial solutions and technical assistance to the contestants. In particular, SHB always encourages and promotes start-up projects that maximize indigenous resources, create local employment, promoting local economy and increasing living standards across the country.
“Producing coffee flower tea to create jobs and increase income for female workers in Dak Lak” project beat other 33 outstanding projects from various regions and was awarded First Prize. During the award ceremony, SHB signed a contract with Farmfood Company to finance and provide technical assistance to the first prize winner.
In particular, SHB sponsored VND300 million to other winners to enable them put projects into reality. In the coming time, SHB shall further support and provide more suitable financial solutions and technical assistance to ensure the long-term and sustainable development of winning projects.
Taking part in the final round jury panel, Mr. Dinh Ngoc Dung – Deputy Director in charge of Corporate Banking Division highly appreciated all participating projects. “Startup projects that have advanced to the national final round are highly feasible for future commercialization. . WSMEs are growing stronger and playing an important role in the economy. I hope that, with the the Party and State favorable policies and mechanisms and the companionship from banks and business associations, not only the winning projects but all national finalist projects will thrive into successful enterprises in the coming time.” said Mr. Dung
WSMEs as SHB’s strategic customer segment have been offered various customized policies and financial solutions that increasingly have been funded by international capital.
In March 2023, SHB signed a senior loan agreement with IFC worth 120 million USD to grow the number of SME loans, including WSMEs and SMEs participating in the supply chain finance. SHB commits to set aside at least 37.5% of this financial package exclusively targeted for WSMEs together with the grant of USD 226,000 from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) and the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility (WEOF) – global initiative to expand WSMEs access to finance.
SHB’s practical and specific actions in accompanying and supporting WSMEs have been recognized and honored by international organizations. Recently, FinanceAsia and Alpha Southeast Asia – two leading finance and banking magazines honored SHB as “Best ESG impact in Vietnam” and “Best Micro SME Bank in Vietnam” respectively. These prestigious awards demonstrated SHB’s achievements in COVID-19 relief for WSMEs sponsored by ADB. By the end of 2022, SHB led among the 5 participating banks with total disbursement amount of USD 1,700,000.
WSMEs negatively affected by Covid-19 have received many financial and non-financial support from SHB in coordination with ADB such as: loan restructuring; granted commitment fees; waivered/reduced banking fees and technical assistance…
In particular, throughout the 30-year development journey, SHB has always accompanied, actively supported, and created favorable conditions for start-up to foster talented entrepreneurs, giving them the opportunity to contribute more to the development of the community and society, reaching new heights. Previously, SHB – the only bank that co-founded the Ho Chi Minh City innovation and startup investment fund has accompanied “Startup aspiration light up villages” to spread the spirit of entrepreneurship to all ethnic minority communities across the country and supported youth and students to start up.