Last weekend, the Asia-Europe Social Enterprise Day was held in Hanoi, Vietnam. The event was co-hosted by the British Council, Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion and the Spark Centre for Social Entrepreneurship Development and funded by both the British and the Japanese government.
The Asia-Europe Social Enterprise Day showcased 30 social enterprises from Europe, Asia and Vietnam in particular, and empowered social entrepreneurs across East Asia and Europe through capacity building and networking activities. The event was part of a 3-day workshop called “Skills for Social Entrepreneurs”. A first workshop with the same title was held in Yangon, Myanmar on May 21-23, which featured social entrepreneurs from Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Denmark, Sweden and Poland.
The event in Hanoi featured several initiatives that tackle social and environmental issues, including eco-tourism models and the production and distribution of solar-powered equipment. Now that development aid for Vietnam is decreasing, experts urge for more support for social enterprises in the country. Paul Koh, ASEF Director for Public Affairs correctly states that “Social entrepreneurs are benefiting the society through a for-profit business model. Inter-regional and multi-sectoral networks help in strengthening the capacities of such social entrepreneurs”. It will be interesting to see how the social entrepreneurship scene in Vietnam will develop in the future and how government, investors and businessmen will shape the economic and social future of the country.