- Vietnamese spice company Vinasamex faced export challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- ADB's #SheExport program, funded by We-fi, provided Vinasamex with tailored support for export-led growth.
- ADB support helped Vinasamex, a spice company based in Viet Nam, grow and promote sustainable agriculture by exporting organic spices.
The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) #SheExport Accelerator program has made a significant impact on Vinasamex, a women-owned business based in Viet Nam specializing in the manufacture, trading, and export of organic cinnamon, star anises, and other spices.
The program matches the needs and capabilities of women entrepreneurs through a combination of networking, consulting, and training to enable women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) reach international markets.
Vinasamex was initially struggling to develop a specific export strategy for the European market and international e-commerce platforms as trade fairs and exhibitions were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vinasamex also needed a deeper understanding of the European market. With ADB support, it experienced outstanding growth in 2022 as it doubled its revenue and completed its first shipment of organic spices under the brand name CinnaKitchen and Spice Fest to the Netherlands, providing incomes to more than 3,000 farming households, up from 2,000 in 2020. An additional five factories in the northern provinces of Lang Son and Lao Cai are expected to be operational in 2024, providing 1,000 additional jobs.
The company's business activities have not only prospered but also contributed significantly to improving the quality of life for local farmers, especially ethnic minorities, and helped promote more environmentally friendly agriculture practices.
Yen Bai province, Viet Nam
Nguyen Thi Huyen
President cum Director
Vinasamex Viet Nam Joint Stock Company
Vinasamex was established in 2012 with the primary objective of facilitating the export of Vietnamese agricultural products to the global market.
Before providing raw cinnamon to Vinasamex, our family income, like many other cinnamon farmers in Tran Yen, Yen Bai, came mainly from growing the trees and selling to processors at a low price. The crop yield was unstable due to crop failures and falling prices.
Nguyen Thi Huyen
My mission is to create job opportunities for Vietnamese farmers, including those from ethnic minorities. However, this can only be achieved by expanding production and business activities. That's why I am determined to bring Vinasamex products to Europe and in international e-commerce platforms, which presents a significant growth opportunity for our business.
Vinasamex had initial difficulties in management, planning of material areas and market development. We were struggling to develop a specific export strategy for the European market and international e-commerce platforms. The company did not have a network of partners and customers in Europe, and traditional export promotion channels such as trade fairs and exhibitions have been halted due to COVID-19.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is helping women-owned small and medium enterprises to address these challenges through its program “Women Accelerating Vibrant Enterprises in Southeast Asia (WAVES)”, funded by the Women’s Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-fi).
Chu Thi Hong Minh
Senior Financial Sector Officer and Project Lead
ADB Viet Nam Resident Mission
The #SheExports Accelerator is a collaborative effort to empower women-owned SMEs in Viet Nam in their journey to expand into international markets. The program offers a comprehensive solution through a combination of training, consulting, acceleration, networking, and sales support. The #SheExports Accelerator is designed to match the specific needs and capabilities of each enterprise, providing a pathway for women-owned SMEs in Viet Nam to succeed on the global stage.
Nguyen Thi Huyen
Fortunately, from June to December 2022, Vinasamex was able to participate in the in-depth support program from ADB, #SheExports, in the form of seminars, one-on-one consultations and an intensive training bootcamp.
The skills, knowledge, new networks, and opportunities gained from the program have helped finetune and accelerate Vinasamex’s growth, especially in terms of exporting to Europe. Specifically, it has helped us understand more about potential European markets. The company was able to send the first shipment of its products to Europe in November 2022.
The company’s turnover nearly doubled between 2021 and 2022. Vinasamex also provided incomes to more than 3,000 farming households in 2022, up from 2,000 in 2020.
Now, I am one of more than 1,000 farmers in Yen Bai province who have been organized, trained, and guided by Vinasamex in organic cinnamon farming techniques.
Nguyen Thi Huyen
This will help our farmers live better and the agriculture will be more environmentally friendly.