Viet Nam has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNCTAD officials to set up an Empretec centre in the country. It will be the first such centre in Asia.
Do Kim Lang, Deputy General Director of the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE), told the 29 April meeting of UNCTAD's Investment, Enterprise and Development Commission, where the signing took place, that the intention is to expand Empretec training to all provinces of the country, to have at least five domestic Empretec trainers certified by 2015, and to establish the country as a hub for Empretec activities in the region, including by holding at least three networking events, one of them international in scope.
A joint Millennium Development Goals programme on green production and trade has already allowed Viet Nam to support 4,500 poor farming and craft-producing households in four northern provinces of the country, Mr. Lang reported. "Together with four other United Nations agencies, UNCTAD has contributed to promoting economic growth by enabling these households to sell greater volumes of higher-value handicraft products, and to reducing poverty by letting the poor benefit at least equally, or above average, from the income generated," Mr. Lang said.
James Zhan, Director of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, said that the agreement with VIETRADE for implementation of the Empretec programme was only the first in a series of important steps. "Action happens on the ground," he said, "and we have to keep this in mind if we want to deliver high-quality outputs in close collaboration with our local partners."
Under a technical cooperation programme that began in 2010, ten Empretec workshops have been held in Viet Nam and 207 aspiring entrepreneurs have taken part in the basic Empretec training course. The success of that pilot programme led to the decision to establish the formal centre, said Mr. Lang.
The international Empretec programme, which began operating in 1998, has trained over 300,000 entrepreneurs via UNCTAD-supported centres in the developing world. Graduates of the programme have gone on to found or expand many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and to create thousands of jobs.