Strengthening Female Entrepreneurship in Vietnam

Author/editor: Carter, J
Year published: 2022


Developing the right conditions for women-led businesses to prosper and generate real-world effects is of remarkable importance for future economic growth and development in Vietnam. Women-owned enterprises (WOEs) in Vietnam not only stimulate income and employment, but they are also the pioneering forces in the implementation of social responsibility, promoting gender equality and contributing to female economic empowerment. However, multi-layered and complex barriers continue to limit the emergence and development of women-led businesses, jeopardising their ability to contribute to the economy. By removing or significantly reducing barriers to entrepreneurship, the Australian Government can play a crucial role in the cultivation of a facilitating and sustainable business ecosystem where the full potential of women can be unleashed.

In alignment with the Australian Government’s recent commitments to supporting female economic empowerment in Vietnam, as outlined in the 2021 Australia-Vietnam Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy (EEES), this report investigates strategies and innovative solutions for overcoming gender inequalities in entrepreneurship. Importantly, it examines the most prominent challenges women entrepreneurs face in Vietnam today and discerns key strategies for the most successful advancement of WOEs.

The report found that women entrepreneurs are most constrained by inadequate access to finance, a lack of networks and a deficit of skills and knowledge. It became evident that discriminatory socio-cultural norms underpin these barriers, affecting the formation, operation, and performance of WOEs. The report then examined four innovative solutions put in place by other actors which have successfully democratised the entrepreneurial journey for women across the Asia-Pacific region. These interventions exemplify how to effectively address the obstacles faced by WOEs in Vietnam.

Moving forward, the Australian government should take a facilitative approach to strengthening WOEs in Vietnam that hinges upon comprehensive, multi-layered support programs run in collaboration with local in-country partners. This report therefore provides the following recommendations in order to address the key challenges and inequalities women experience in entrepreneurship across Vietnam:

  1. Provide alternative financial services to WOEs in Vietnam.
  2. Nurture business networks between Australia and Vietnam for WOEs.
  3. Strengthen the skills set of WOEs and share knowledge.
  4. Take a collaborative approach to the provision of support.


Josephine Carter completed this research on female entrepreneurship in Vietnam as part of her internship at GIWL.


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