Vietnam Delegation attending Social Enterprise World Forum
Vietnam Delegation attending Social Enterprise World Forum

Social Change through Social Enterprise was the main topic of the Social Enterprise World Forum 2014 (SEWF 2014) in Seoul, South Korea. The Forum was an international event, creating opportunities for policy-makers, enterprises, politicians and communities to engage in dialogue on the establishment and development of social enterprise. 

With the aim of learning of the development of social enterprises across the world, experience of policies and laws for social enterprise, the British Council and the Central Institute for Economic Management invited a Delegation to attend the Forum from 14 to 16 October 2014. The Vietnam Delegation included fifteen participants, representing the Office of Government, the Office of the National Assembly, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Hanoi Radio – Television and Vietnam Television. With support from the British Council, the Delegation had prepared well for the event with briefings on the content as well as the logistics for the trip. 

The SEWF 2014 had the main theme ‘Social Change through Social Enterprise’, with an objective to confirm the role of sustainable development within Social Enterprise models, especially in Asia. The Forum had three sub topics, which were: Social Innovation, Social Inclusion and Social Investment. The special session about Social Enterprise Laws and Policy attracted interest from many participants. The features were Social Enterprise Law terms of the Government of South Korea. The Vietnam Delegation actively and fully took part in all activities under the scope of the Forum, including: Social Enterprise Tour B, plenaries and sessions at the Forum and the numerous networking activities.

Over the three days of the Forum, the Delegation gained a better understanding of the role of Social Enterprise in economic development. In particular, learning from the development of Social Enterprise and the experience of other nations in the development of their policies for social enterprise. All members of the Delegation agreed on the need to create a legal framework in order to honour and encourage the development of social enterprise in Vietnam. At the end of the Forum, the Vietnam participants, commit to strongly supporting the legitimization of social enterprise and actively participating in Social Enterprise activities.

Sharing by Mr. Nguyen Viet Thinh, Vice Director, Legislation Department, Office of Government

I really appreciated all the support and organisation by the British Council and the organising team of the Social Enterprise World Forum 2014. The content of the Forum was valuable and very applicable to Vietnam for the improvement of the existing social enterprise models. In order to develop these models it needs the involvement and support from the government. Legitimizing social enterprise’s context in law is necessary to ensure the framework for more effective and focussed implementation. 

Sharing by Ms. Duong Thuy Dung, Specialist, Committee for Economic Affairs, National Assembly Office

Recognised and seen as a reality in countries around the world, there are many enterprises called social enterprises which work to solve social and environmental issues for communities, reinvesting their profits for their social objectives instead of distributing to shareholders as traditional businesses would do. Many specialists identify social enterprises as pioneers in creating new social values around the world, and not just in developing countries. Social enterprises are classed as economic organisation models able to contribute to the building of an economy, support of society, and able to assist governments to solve social issues. 

Recently in our country, the number of social enterprises has increased greatly, and they work in many areas and sectors of the economy. In order to encourage and promote this model, the Enterprise Law (regulated), submitted to the National Assembly at the 8th meeting, has added a new regulation defining social enterprise, their purpose and their use of profit.

At this time, the British Council in Vietnam, the Central Institute for Economic Management and the Ministry of Planning and Investment had a perfectly timed initiative of sending a delegation to attend the 7th Social Enterprise World Forum. The Delegation collected information from the Forum about the activities and contribution of social enterprise to the economy. They heard of experience, discussed and shared ideas with the many social enterprises, social entrepreneurs, specialists and representatives attending the Forum from social and economic organisations around the world. This was a great sources of reference for Vietnam as it considers the Enterprise Law (regulated) at the National Assembly Meeting, and starts the process of establishing policies, promoting the development of enterprises overall and social enterprises in particularly in Vietnam.  

Sharing by Ms. Dinh Thi Bich Xuan, Deputy Manager, Office for Business Sustainable Development, Vietnam Chamber for Commercial and Industry (VCCI)

I can state that the Social Enterprise World Forum 2014 in Seoul was one of the greatest international events I have ever attended. I was impressed by the Forum not only because of the host country’s hospitability but also because of the networking at the event which helped participants to have an inclusive understanding of social enterprises. Social enterprises contribute hugely to communities and are accepted by the society. Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Investment (VCCI) hopes that the British Council will keep working with the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development, under VCCI, in order to build a shared action programme to raise awareness in the enterprise community and with other stakeholders relevant to social enterprises through conferences, forums and honouring the fact that social enterprises provide such a great contribution to the communities in which they work.

Sharing by Mr. Nguyen Duy Linh, Specialist, Legal Department, Legal Committee, National Assembly Office

The Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) 2014 is an international event. Personally, I was lucky and honoured to have the chance to participate in this useful forum, which is a specialist area for me. As an officer having responsibility to directly counsel the National Assembly and the National Assembly’s companies in establishing laws, of which the Enterprise Law (regulated) is one, I find that legitimizing particular details regarding social enterprise into the draft Enterprise Law (regulated) is discussed by the National Assembly’s representatives. Many participants consider this regulation as legitimization of the existing social enterprises in Vietnam, which are working in many sectors and quickly growing in number. However, some participants don’t agree with this model stating that it may create inequality for other types of business (such as technology science enterprise – Regulation 80/2007/ND-CP, etc.). After attending the Forum, hearing the experience of other speakers, I find that legitimizing some details regarding social enterpriss in our country is necessary and that the model needs to be encouraged and promoted in order to share the government’s burden in solving social and environment issues. Therefore, within my ability, I will keep supporting the inclusion of social enterprise within the Enterprise Law (regulated) at an appropriate level in the future.

Finally, I would like to say thank to the British Council and the Central Institute for Economic Management for the careful and successful organization of the logistics for the delegation. 

Sharing by Mr. Nguyen Thieu Hoai, Journalist, Hanoi Radio -Television

This is the first time I had attended such an event and I was amazed me at the scale of the Social Enterprise World Forum 2014. I was introduced to many social enterprise models from around the world. Many well-known speakers and specialists from numerous developed countries made interesting and informative presentations.

Through attending this Forum, I found that South Korea has a developed social enterprise community thanks to the positive support of the government its policies and laws. More impressive still is that most of the Korean social enterprise models are working as cooperatives. I think this is one of the most appropriate models for the development of social enterprises in Vietnam in the future.