The Vietnamese Government and the UNDP agreed on a four-year $2.38 million technical cooperation project in September 1997. The project benefited from the support of other donors, businesses, the mass media and the broader community and was nationally executed by the CIEM. 

The Council of Co-operatives and Non State Enterprises (CCNSE) of Ninh Binh province and SNV cooperated in executing the Entrepreneurial Support Services (ESS) Project as part of the Income & Employment Generation (IEG) programme of SNV Vietnam. The IEG programme responds to the pressing need to absorb the fast growing labour surplus in rural areas. Specifically, there are areas where agriculture does not generate sufficient income and only part-time employment. Employment in state-owned enterprises has been declining and rural enterprises are still underdeveloped.

In 1997, the project proposal to establish a Business Support Centre (BSC) in Thai Nguyen was prepared by SNV Vietnam at the request of the Thai Nguyen Provincial People’s Committee. The BSC was established in 1999 with the goal to “increase rural employment opportunities through the stimulation and strengthening of entrepreneurial activities”. The project was formulated on two levels: 1. Service provider level: to establish a sustainable business support centre that can provide good BDS for enterprises in Thai Nguyen; and 2. Entrepreneurial level: to improve and strengthen entrepreneurial activities resulting in increased income and employment for beneficiaries

The overall project involved surveying 1600 SMEs and 960 households.  The SME component aimed to collect new and crucial information on the development of rural and urban SMEs in order to evaluate the potential role of SMEs in job creation, as well as to understand the problems and constraints faced by these SMEs - in order to develop recommendations and policy options to submit to the Government of Vietnam.
The household component aimed to gather, assess and analyse information on resource allocations in rural households including access to land, capital, labour and markets.  This survey aimed to fill current gaps in access to these key economic resources and constraints on access to these resources in order to contribute to policy formulations to submit to the Government of Vietnam.

Consultants were tasked with designing the project “Developing the Private Sector in Lang Son”. The project aimed at strengthening public information services and clarifying government oversight of the private sector in Lang Son. The proposed activities included: setting up a Business Support Centre to act as a one-stop shop and provide free information for private sector business persons; setting up a Business Association; organising workshops; conducting study tours; producing newsletters and articles in local newspapers; producing information packs about government services, and producing government agency brochures.

The overlying challenge of the Vietnamese government is the creation of a “fair, level and competitive playing field for all enterprises, state and private, domestic and foreign” in line with the country’s Comprehensive Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy. The Business Sector Programme Support (BSPS) funded by the Danish Government aims to address major issues to create an enabling and fair environment in particular for private businesses.

The ADB Vietnam Resident Mission implemented a regional project entitled Making Markets Work Better for the Poor (MMW4P). The purpose of the project is to (a) conduct analytical work on the functioning of markets and the extent to which the poor are able to benefit from them, and (b) to build capacity to support pro-poor market development through research activities, networking and the promotion of policy dialogue. 

To support the further development of specifically small enterprises the ILO in collaboration with the VCCI introduced Poverty Reduction through Integrated Small Enterprise Development (PRISED) in Vietnam. The objective of the project is to contribute to local economic growth and poverty reduction by creating more and better jobs through the promotion of private sector development. The project aims foster private sector development by encouraging partnerships between the SME sector and provincial government.

In the Lao PDR, the German Government, through the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), has two sectoral programs: 1). The ‘Human Resource Development for a Market Economy’ (HRDME) Program dealing with issues of Framework Conditions for economic development, labour market-oriented vocational education & training as well as the promotion of SME’s at the national level 2). The Rural Development of Mountainous Areas (RDMA) Program in Northern Lao PDR. Under the HRDME Program research was conducted on the impacts of large foreign investment projects has on SMEs. In this assignment the objective was to undertake two cases studies on the negative and positive socio-economic impacts of large/foreign investment on the national and local economy, more specifically Lao Brewery and Lang Xane Minerals.

The Fund Facility for Business Services for Global Competitiveness (“the Fund Facility”) was a Danida funded grants facility that aimed to increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese private businesses through better access to necessary information, support services and interest representation. The Fund Facility specifically aimed to support export-led growth in the provinces of Khanh Hoa, Lam Dong, Ha Tay, and Nghe An. In each of the four provinces, the Fund Facility identified leading sectors with high export potential. The flower sector in Lam Dong had good export potential and the Fund Facility thus wished to support the provision of advocacy and interest representation as well as the provision of business development services within this sector. To lay the base for subsequent support activities, the Fund Facility wished to have a solid understanding of the current situation in the flower sector in Lam Dong.