Cooperation between Vietnam Women’s Union and Maastrict School of Management, the Netherlands on training for women in micro and small enterprises

The Maastricht School of Management (MSM) of the Netherlands was founded in 1952.

With a large number of international professors and consultants specialized in development and development management, MSM provides Master and Ph.D degree courses for managers working in international business environment from over 130 countries. MSM also provides short training courses and overseas study programs. Especially, MSM is experienced in promoting entrepreneurship, including women entrepreneurship through training, implementing projects, research and consultancy. In 1992, VWU and MSM started cooperation to do need assessment and design the project “Training for women in micro and small scale enterprise” to improve training capacity of VWU, particularly Women Cadres Training School in this area. The project was implemented over the period of 3 years (1997-2000) with a total budget of US$ 1.2 million funded by the Netherlands Government.


Under the project, the Head Office and the affiliated Women Cadres Training School (WCTS) in Ho Chi Minh city of the Vietnam Women’s Union had sent 6 staff and teachers to the postgraduation programme and 12 teachers and staff to the basic study programme in the Netherlands. Besides, 225 staffs at the provincial level were trained in side the country as trainers (ToT) o­n Micro and Small enterprise Management. Especially, a sub-faculty o­n “Women and small scale enterprises” was initially established at the Women Cadres Training School with teachers trained and retrained at MSM, and with equipment, training materials and abundance of specialized books provided by MSM. The sub-faculty has organised 10 TOT courses for the provincial Women’s Union staff. The sub-faculty has also cooperated with some provincial WUs and other organizations to conduct training o­n enterprise management and how to do business skills in the market economy for women in provinces from Da Nang City southwards.


Upon the positive scores gained by the project in the first stage, at the proposal by MSM, the Netherlands Government/Dutch International Education Cooperation Foundation (SAIL) has added a budget of nearly US$ 900,000 to expand the project to the second phase (TWMSE 2; 2000-2003) to continue promoting women entrepreneurship (W.E) and supporting micro and small enterprise development, creating employment opportunities and alleviating poverty for women.


TWMSE 2 project has been implemented by VWU since January, 2001 with main components including strengthening training capacity of VWU’s staff in enterpreneurship development through staff training, TOT; W.E training in the field; Infrastructure improvement for Women Cadres Training School; Strengthening the capacity of VWU’s Coordinating Unit (C.U) for Women Entrepreneurship Promotion, particularly in policy formulation: Gender and entrepreneurship development.


The project has passed over half of its way with encouraging achievements gained.


* Improving training capacity of VWU’s staff o­n business management: 3 trainers from WCTS have received short-term refresher training (3 months) in the Netherlands. By October, 2003, 5 basic TOT courses have been organized for 131 staff of WU at provincial and district levels in provinces from Thua Thien – Hue northwards,and 02 training workshops o­n business management and women entrepreneurship promotion for leaders of provincial WU in Northern and Southern provinces in Hanoi and HCMC respectively. To improve the training quality in the 2ndphase, refresher trainingand seminars o­n curriculum development have been organized for teachers from WCTS and training handouts have been developed for women entrepreneurs.


* WE training: Under TWMSE 2 project, 210 training workshops (3-4days) have been conducted by the trained TOT participants ??? for 7,415 women entrepreneurs in 30 Northern provinces and 22 Southern provinces with the main contents such as: business concept, financial management, marketing and business planning.


* Infrastructure improvement for WCTS: A computer lab has been installed at the School. Besides, the School has received a car and equipment for its office and library. The project office at VWU’s headquarters has been set-up with office equipment, furniture and a carprovided by the project.


* Strenthening the capacity of the Coordinating Unit for women entrepreneurship promotion, particularly in policy formulation: Gender and Entrepreneurship development. MSM and Institute of Social Studies (ISS, the Netherlands) as the project partners have made significant contribution to the project in conducting needs assessment, o­n-the-spot training for staff of VWU o­n policy formulation, and Summer School at ISS policy formulation integrating gender and entrepreneurship development for seventeen leaders and staff of VWU at ISS, the Netherlands in September, 2002. The outcome of this course is a draft policyframework of VWU for supporting women entrepreneurship which served as a basis for VWU to formulate its strategic directions for women entrepreneurship promotion, period 2003-2007, at the same time to make recommendations to the Government and the international donor community in this area as well.


Especially, the project has helped VWU sucessfully organizing a National Conference o­n 12-13 June, 2003 to review the activities of VWU at different levels in supporting W.E over the period 2000-2002, as well as to formulate its stragegic orientations in this area for the period 2003-2007 and a National Conference of Exemplary Women Entrepreneurs o­n 1 October, 2003 to commend and encourage women entrepreneurs to make greater contribution in the socio-economic development of the country and to promote the policy advocacy role handled by WU at different levels.


This is the first internationally funded project of VWU to promote women entrepreneurship in a large scale and a systematic manner thus strategically assisting VWU to realize its Resolution o­n women entrepreneurship development mapped out at the 9th National Congress of Vietnamese Women for tenure 2002- 2007.