Hoang Gia, a women-owned tourism company in Viet Nam has benefited from ADB’s grant project, "COVID-19 Relief for Women-led Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (WSMEs)", funded by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiatives (We-fi). Under the grant project, through participating banks, ADB has supported WSMEs in two ways. Firstly, banks are incentivized to take on new clients amid difficult economic conditions. Secondly, for borrowers who have difficulty repaying loans and interest like Hoang Gia, the ADB project helps WSME stay up to date on their interest payments, which is particularly important during the pandemic. In addition to the financial support, ADB also provides a one-on-one business counseling program for affected enterprises.

With ADB’s support through Saigon-Hanoi Joint Stock Commercial Bank, a participating bank under the project, Hoang Gia also expanded its operation with two additional ships purchased, 12 more employees hired, and six new contracts signed with travel agencies. The company increased its revenue in 2021 by 150% compared to 2020. After participating in the business counseling program, the company was able to create a long-term business strategy with a new marketing approach. The company plans to expand its business further, representing the aim of the project, which is to build thriving women-owned SMEs in Viet Nam.

Transcript

Van Don, Quang Ninh Province, Viet Nam

Bui Thi Thanh Thuy – Director of Hoang Gia Quang Ninh Investment Trade and Tourism Co., Ltd.

Our company began operating in 2014 in Quang Ninh Province. We are in the business of offering travel services, mostly through providing sightseeing tours of Cat Ba and Van Don.

There are nearly 7,200 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in Quang Ninh Province, of which only 16.7% are women-owned SMEs (Source: 2021 Economic Census).

Women-owned SMEs need better access to entrepreneurial education as well as financial and business capacity to grow. 

Asian Development Bank (ADB) is delivering all of this in its support program titled “Women Accelerating Vibrant Enterprises in Southeast Asia (WAVES)”, funded by the Women’s Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).

Bui Thi Thanh Thuy 

Previously, we lacked the necessary capital to expand our business activities. Therefore, we kept looking for loan opportunities from banks and, fortunately, in 2019, we received a loan with a duration of seven years from Saigon Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB). The loan helped us purchase more ships to transport passengers. 

In 2020, our business was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, we still had to remunerate staff and cover the costs of maintaining our ships. The obligation to make our loan repayments made us anxious that we would not be able to continue operations.

Together with the Vietnamese government and many financial institutions, ADB has supported women-owned SMEs.

In Viet Nam, ADB has been working with commercial banks, including SHB, to support women-owned SMEs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ngo Thu Ha, Acting General Director of Saigon Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB)

SHB always values the customer segment of women-owned SMEs. Specifically, to support this segment during the pandemic, SHB partnered with the ADB COVID-19 Relief Grant project, in which ADB provides financial assistance of up to 10,000 USD per enterprise to SHB’s women-owned SME customers. This collaboration between SHB and ADB has successfully supported nearly 70 customers, as of July 2022.

The project has supported women-owned SMEs through two channels:

Firstly, provide a financial incentive for banks to accept new customers, despite the difficult economic conditions caused by the pandemic. 

Secondly, the ADB project supports women-owned businesses who have already borrowed from the banks but are having difficulty repaying their loans and interest payments. The ADB project helps them to pay the loan interest.

ADB also offers a 1-on-1 Business Counselling Program for women entrepreneurs to improve the operational and business capacity of enterprises.

Bui Thi Thanh Thuy 

Thankfully, from the beginning of 2021, SHB restructured the loan, and deferred repayment of the principal payment for a further five-month period. Thanks to support from the ADB project, we received the equivalent of 10,000 USD in November 2021 allowing us to pay the loan interest for those 5 months- which proved to be our most difficult time.

Through ADB’s free Business Counselling Program, we received specialized training for our company. We undertook courses titled “Business strategy”, “How to compete with competitor” and “How to reduce service costs to attract customers”.

After receiving this loan and the support of ADB, the company achieved remarkable success. Specifically, we were able to purchase two more ships and signed six new contracts with travel agencies. The firm’s revenue in 2021 increased by 150% compared to revenue in 2020. After the Business Counselling Program we were able to create a long-term development plan for the company. Over the next three years, we plan to purchase more ships and cars, and renovate the guest pick-up wharf.

I would like to thank ADB for its timely support of our business, which helped us steer our ships through the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic! I hope there will be more women-owned SMEs in Viet Nam that will continue to be supported by ADB, so they possess more motivation and resources to constantly thrive and develop!

The aim of the ADB’s project, funded by We-Fi, is to bring in self-sustaining behavioral changes among critical stakeholders across the public and private sectors, alongside ameliorating access to finance, market and skills to build thriving women-owned SMEs in Viet Nam.

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