ICT skills identified as the key to business success in Vietnam

With the rapid increase in the number of small and medium businesses in Vietnam and the challenges of ensuring continuous economic growth, Microsoft and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry are partnering to strengthen the potential of the local business community by building awareness of IT trends for businesses and ICT skills training.

In the last decade, Vietnam’s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector has grown from 30,000 businesses in 2000 to about 475,000 by the end of 2013. It now accounts for about 40 percent of the country’s GDP and creates 70 percent of the total non-agricultural jobs.

Recognizing the key role of this sector in the economy, Microsoft has been working with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to empower SMEs to enhance their competitiveness and productivity, particularly through improving ICT skills and migrating businesses to the cloud.

“Microsoft has been actively involved in local development in Vietnam by supporting business communities with a diversified inclusion strategy. Microsoft cooperates with various partners to train Vietnamese knowledge workers on emerging ICT platforms and systems, supporting Vietnam’s vision for economic growth through IT advancement,” said Dr Pham Thi Thu Hang, General Secretary of VCCI.

VCCI and Microsoft solution partners are working together to review and propose a roadmap to modernise IT infrastructure. They are working to deploy Office 365 among VCCI’s members and build a cloud platform to the National Single Window for Certificate of Origin.

Moreover, they are establishing a strategic partnership program to promote IT, and raise awareness on Intellectual Property Rights and ICT trends through a series of workshops for SMEs across the country, informed Pham.

They are also working to support entrepreneurial women by making their businesses more productive, and applying ICT to SMEs working in the agricultural sector to create more value for their products and services.

The most interesting initiative that Microsoft and VCCI are working on is the ‘Enhancing ICT skills for SMEs in ASEAN’ initiative. “This project aims to increase awareness and realize the full potential of using ICT skills, especially in e-commerce and e-business for young entrepreneurs in traditional handicraft villages to increase their competitiveness in the market,” Dr. Hang noted.

The project targets entrepreneurs in the range of 19 to 35 years of age. VCCI, together with Microsoft, organised a training course for 20 trainers from universities, institutes and vocational schools, along with four basic courses for young entrepreneurs and craftsmen in traditional craft villages in Vietnam. “The project also assisted two national artisans to establish a website and sell their products online,” added Hang.

As Vietnam faces the risk of falling into a middle income trap, the government has been strongly supporting pro-technology policies to enable domestic and international cooperation for ICT development such as that between VCCI and Microsoft. Dr. Hang cited the ‘National Programme for Innovation toward 2020’ that encourages creating more favorable conditions for Vietnamese businesses to cooperate with foreign companies for technology development and application.

To further strengthen the steps moving forward, VCCI and Microsoft signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 8 April to work together on raising awareness of ICT application for SMEs in Vietnam over the next three years, Dr. Hang shared. Special focus has been given to the use of mobile devices and cloud computing to maximize the potential of these businesses.

“Over the next three years, Microsoft and VCCI will implement a range of support activities to help SMEs and women entrepreneurs to maximize their potential, helping turn their business ideas into reality in all sectors,” added Dr. Hang.

Report: Medha Basu

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