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Advancing the Growth of Women-Led SMEs in Vietnam: A Gender Lens in Policy & Investment

Press Releases /13 April 2022

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 13 April 2022 – Next Monday, on April 18, Vietnam’s investor community will join an event to explore how a gender lens in policy and investment can advance the growth of women-led SMEs and bolster Vietnam’s economy.

With the growing recognition of women-led SMEs’ socio-economic contributions and to facilitate evidence-based reflection on which solutions worked best to counter the negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, AVPN (a pan-Asian network for social investors) and Investing in Women (an initiative of the Australian Government) are hosting an event convening key stakeholders.

Over 50 eminent investors and business leaders will gather in-person, and 30 leaders across South East Asia and the globe will join online. This event is the first in a series on this theme, covering three markets: Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia.

Australian Chamber of Commerce (AusCham) and American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), joined forces with AVPN to promote the event across their networks.

In launching the report, Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Robyn Mudie noted “Support targeted at women’s SMEs creates wider growth for the local and national economy. Australia encourages policy makers and investors to consider how best to respond to women’s needs when planning post-COVID economic recovery. We now have the opportunity to create a more equal, inclusive and resilient economy.”

This hybrid event will launch the report “Gendered Impacts of MSME Policy Responses to COVID-19 in South East Asia” produced by Monash University in Australia and the Development and Policies Research Center (DEPOCEN) in Vietnam. The report takes stock of economic relief measures to foster SME resilience to Covid-19 and analyses the extent to which women have been involved as beneficiaries or in decision making; and the extent to which responses have met the needs of women’s SMEs. The study is intended to assist policymakers and donor agencies understand the best solutions for assisting women’s SMEs through the recovery response to Covid-19.

In addition, this event will highlight the best practices and collaborations of investors and development finance institutions in advancing women’s SMEs in Vietnam. A panel discussion featuring three expert speakers will explore how incorporating gender considerations into investment processes, designing innovative financial products, and developing tailored incubation programs can improve access to finance for women-led SMEs, creating greater financial and social returns in the country.

The event will also showcase participants of one such program to support female founders. SHINE, an incubation program hosted by Ascend Vietnam Ventures (AVV), is dedicated to supporting women founders of early-stage startups. Eight entrepreneurs from SHINE will attend the event to share their work and experience.

“Understanding that women’s SMEs are key to recovery in a post-pandemic world, in Vietnam and beyond, ensures an inclusive economic recovery,” said Christina Ameln, Vietnam Advisor at AVPN. “To do this effectively, policymakers and investors must incorporate gender-responsive thinking into their processes, measures, and products. It is not only about empowering women but also ensuring financing is in place for women entrepreneurs to access.”

AVPN will continue to feature the topic of advancing women’s SMEs as one of the themes in the upcoming AVPN Global Conference, taking place in Bali, Indonesia this June. The AVPN Gender Platform was created to mobilise capital to close the gender gap in Asia. Over 350 of AVPN’s members are moving capital towards work that improves outcomes for women and girls in the region.



About Investing in Women

Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian Government, catalyses inclusive economic growth through women’s economic empowerment in South East Asia.  Investing in Women uses innovative approaches to improve women’s economic participation as employees and as entrepreneurs in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar through:

  • Workplace Gender Equality (WGE) – We support Business Coalitions who work with influential businesses on shifting workplace cultures, practices, and policy barriers to achieve WGE.
  • Impact Investment for Women’s SMEs – We partner with Impact Investors and ecosystem builders to expand market opportunities for women, with a view to incentivizing and catalyzing access to capital for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – led by and responsive to the needs of women; and
  • Influencing Gender Norms – We work with partners to positively shift attitudes and practices to support women in the world of work. In collaboration with corporations and business leaders, impact investors, entrepreneurs and advocates, we are working with those who are driving change for women’s economic equality in our region.

For more information, visit,


With over 600 members covering 33 countries, AVPN is Asia’s largest social investor network moving capital towards impact in Asia. We are committed to building a vibrant and high impact social investment community across Asia. AVPN is an advocate, capacity builder, and platform that cuts across private, public, and social sectors embracing all types of engagement to improve the effectiveness of members across the Asia Pacific region. AVPN’s mission is to catalyse a more strategic, collaborative, and outcome focused approach to philanthropy and social investing. To achieve this, we aim to increase the flow of financial, human and intellectual capital to the social sector, and ensure that capital is deployed as effectively as possible.

For more information visit,

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