Social enterprises, unlike ordinary businesses, are designed to address one or more specific social or environmental issues through a sustainable business model. In order to implement social entrepreneurship and social innovation, it is necessary to create a social entrepreneurial workforce that understands and is equipped with knowledge and skills in this area – an important task that requires time. Universities, key generators of skilled professionals, are the best places to provide students with this expertise. An entrepreneurial workforce drives economic development and completes social goals, contributing to the stabilization and promotion of the nation's young talent.
Today, 5 October 2018, with Vietnam’s Vice Minister of Education and Training, Nguyen Van Phuc, Mr Ed Vaizey, the British Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Vietnam, and Mr Gareth Ward, the UK Ambassador to Vietnam, as witnesses, the Britsh Council in Vietnam signed the Cooperation Agreement with the Ministry of Education of Training of Vietnam, marking the first step in implementing the task of promoting social enterprise teaching and social reform in universities across Vietnam.
2018 marks the 45th anniversary of ambassadorial relations between the UK and Vietnam and 25 years since the British Council opened its first offices in Vietnam. On this cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Training, Mr Ed Vaizey stated: “The United Kingdom is the leading country in social enterprises. Through the British Council in Vietnam, I believe that today’s Cooperative Agreement will foster greater cooperation between the two countries. This will contribute to the development of Vietnam’s education system in general and the development of social enterprises in particular, creating a more sustainable development environment in Vietnam.”
Social entrepreneurship is the most effective model to help solve social problems. The agreement signed with the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam today will provide a solid foundation for the development of social enterprises in Vietnam. Ms Donna McGowan, Country Director of the British Council in Vietnam, added: “In Vietnam, the British Council has actively supported and coordinated at all levels to disseminate the knowledge of social enterprises, bringing it these closer to the Vietnamese people, especially the younger generation – university students. Recently, together with Northamton University, we have joined with the National Economics University to launch the ‘Vietnam Youth for Social Innovation’ program, including the national lecturers training course for social innovation and the ‘Youth for Social Innovation Challenge’ – a meaningful playground for Vietnamese youth to develop new innovative ideas in a way that will positively impacts society. During the three-month program, participants had opportunities to receive training in business skills, developing business models under the guidance of experts.”
Promoting social entrepreneurial skills, social innovation and dialogue in a multicultural environment at 200 universities in Vietnam will enhance students’ employment opportunities, especially if they start their own business. The agreement with the British Council will:
- promote social enterprises and social innovation through seminars, forums, training activities, capacity building for students, lecturers and counsellors in universities in Vietnam
- raise awareness of social enterprise development in education and training for at least 30 percent of university students
- provide knowledge and skills on social entrepreneurship, social creativity and community leadership to 200 lecturers to help them successfully implement the spillover effect activities at the school
- implement more effective approaches to skills and business development
- launch and maintain a network of social educators and researchers.
Given the importance of education as a factor in economic development and social welfare, as well as a means to promote cooperation between the two countries, Vice Minister Nguyen Van Phuc appreciated the support and cooperation of the UK and the British Council in Vietnam. Both sides believe that cooperation in the field of education will benefit both countries. The purpose of this Cooperation Agreement signed between the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam and the British Council in Vietnam is to strengthen cooperation in education and training and contribute to the development of education in Vietnam through experience exchange and cooperation in strategic priority areas.
The British Council has been working with Vietnam since 1993. In 2018, we are marking this 25th anniversary with a series of events celebrating cultural relations and exchange between the UK and Vietnam.