“Female athletes should plan to start business while still competing in sports”

Hanoi, Viet Nam, April 17, 2024 - "Female athletes should prepare themselves a solid foundation for the future - when they stop competing professionally."
VWU Vice President speaks at the event

 That was the message of Vice President of the Vietnam Women's Union Nguyen Thi Minh Huong at the communication event on entrepreneurship and business start-up for female athletes co-organized by the Vietnam Women's Union (VWU) and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. This event aimed to equip athletes with the knowledge and skills needed to launch their own businesses after their competitive careers end.

The communication event on entrepreneurship and business start-up for female athletes in Hanoi, April 17

Every year in Viet Nam, many Vietnamese athletes struggle to transition out of professional competition. The Department of Sports and Physical Training reported that only 15-20% of high-achieving athletes become coaches or physical education teachers after athletic retirement. This suggests that roughly 60-70% of provincial or higher-level athletes with specialized skills end up in unrelated careers. 

However, there are success stories of female athletes who have become entrepreneurs. Nguyen Thi Oanh, a 30th SEA Games champion in long-distance running and obstacle course racing, has found success with her sports shoe business. Similarly, ASIAD 2018 long jump champion Bui Thi Thu Thao runs a catering service in Ba Vi, Hanoi.

Female athletes at the event

Vietnamese female athletes were urged to consider entrepreneurship as a post-sport career option at this event. VWU Vice President Huong suggested athletes "think about starting a business, build a plan, and cultivate the idea" while still competing. She highlighted the unique advantages of athletes, such as exposure to diverse cultures through international competitions, which can serve as valuable resources for business ideas. Ms. Huong also noted the VWU’s ongoing support for female entrepreneurs. Its national "Women's Star-tup Contest" in 2024 focuses on "Women's creative startups and green transformation". In addition, Women’s Unions in many provinces and cities also assist women in entrepreneurship and business start-up through improving women’s knowledge and skills on business management, technology application, livestream sales and e-commerce, supporting women in terms of vocational training, job creation, and capital access.

Ao Dai designer Do Trinh Hoai Nam inspires female athletes to start business

Ms. Huong encougaged female athletes to strive for continued success in regional and international competitions while also planning for their post-athletic careers. "Beyond achieving sporting glory," Huong said, "athletes should equip themselves with the tools needed to thrive after their sport career termination." She emphasized valuable qualities and skills honed through athletic training - agility, intelligence, health, and discipline – that would position them for success in future endeavors.


The VWU's "Women's Start-up Contest" has attracted over 5,000 project entries at the national level in its five-year run, with 147 selected outstanding ideas and a total support of nearly 35 billion VND (approximately US$1.5 million).

The VWU has broadened its reach by offering knowledge, information, and support to diverse group of women including female athletes, ethnic minority women, women with disabilities, female prisoners etc., thus inspiring and enabling them to start up.

Translated by VWU International Relations Dept.