Women-led SMEs helped to better access ADB-funded COVID-19 financial relief

An enterprise-bank connecting programme was held virtually on September 27 to introduce and discuss about the US$5 million COVID-19 relief provided by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) to support women-led Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs).

The event was co-hosted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the State Bank of Vietnam, and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council (VWEC), gathering over 300 representatives from women-led SMEs from all over the country.

It offered a platform for banks and enterprises to discuss procedures and conditions to apply for the grant.

The programme formed part of the VWEC’s efforts to help women-led SMEs access the ADB-run COVID-19 Relief for Women-Led Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Project which is being implemented by five Vietnamese banks – Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB), Bank for Investments and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB), Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank), and Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank).

VWEC President Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh said impacts of the COVID-19 have caused troubles for many enterprises, particularly women-led SMEs. It is critical to implement the project as fast as possible to effectively aid the affected businesses, she noted.

The programme aims to promptly respond to the current difficult time and it requires the cooperation of all stakeholders, including the ADB, the government, the five banks, VCCI and industry associations, Don Lambert, head of the Private Sector Development Unit at ADB Vietnam. It will help deliver the relief as quickly as possible to women-led SMEs suffering financial losses due to COVID-19, he added.