Vietnamese enterprises and entrepreneurs are going in a stormy period, we cannot wait for the storm to pass through but must learn to "dance" in the storm.
The Vietnamese business community has turned full 17 years old since Prime Minister Phan Van Khai decided to take October 13 as Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day (2004). For 17 years of establishment, Vietnam Entrepreneurs have been facing what could be said to be the most difficult and arduous period because the Covid-19 epidemic has not been thoroughly controlled and the social distancing measures caused serious consequences.
Holding on tenaciously
GDP growth in the third quarter was negative 6.17%, the deepest negative rate in history since Vietnam calculated and announced quarterly GDP. Over 94% of enterprises were affected by the epidemic, over 10,000 enterprises had to leave the market every month and for the first time, the number of retreating enterprises was greater than the number of newly established enterprises... Reviewing some features of the economy in the third quarter is to see the degree of difficulty that every enterprise and entrepreneur have to face.
President Nguyen Xuan Phuc had a meeting with more than 40 delegates representing more than 10,000 entrepreneurs of the Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs’ Association on October 12 morning in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: NGOC LINH
The first days of October this year is considered an important milestone for the Vietnam economy when the Covid-19 epidemic was initially controlled; Ho Chi Minh City and other provinces and cities reopened in the spirit of safe coexistence with the epidemic. The road to economic recovery becomes arduous in the same as the tense fight against the epidemic.
We expect that the production circulation will be an opportunity to recover, but the large-scale influx of repatriating workers caused difficulties for enterprises in many manufacturing industries. If it only takes 3-6 months for enterprises to resume the supplies and material chain, the resumption of the labor chain needs 6-12 months, even more time. The hardship weighs heavily on the shoulders of the business owners.
Difficulties was heaped up together but enterprises and entrepreneurs are aware of the necessity to adjust production and business activities to live with Covid-19 because the epidemic may become an inevitable part of life besides many other challenges from climate change, trade war and downside of Industry 4.0. Enterprises and entrepreneurs are also well aware that we live in a constantly changing and competitive world. The core in that cycle is high adaptability and resistance.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh inspects the supply of goods and servings for isolation areas at Co.opXtra Pham Van Dong in August 2021. Photo: HONG CHAU
The state of mind of the whole system as well as of each enterprise and entrepreneur must be: "Do not wait for the storm to pass through but learn to "dance" under the rain to live with the storm". I know there are many enterprises nationwide that persevered, became creative and flexibly changed business strategies to overcome the most difficult period and have been gradually recovering.
Listening to enterprises telling human stories...
A third of a century has passed since the Law on Enterprises and 17 years of establishment, Vietnam entrepreneurs have entered the 2nd startup wave associated with the revival process in the context of Covid-19 . If the 1st startup wave meant to liberate the people, create more jobs and bring the country out of poverty, the 2nd startup wave is an era of promoting the people's wisdom to help the country overcome the average income trap, become a rich and powerful country. In this process, enterprises and entrepreneurs are the core force.
The model that enterprises and entrepreneurs need to shape is digitization, greenization and socialization. "Digitalization" is indisputable because digital transformation integrated with other technologies of Industry 4.0 will help enterprises become smarter and operate more efficiently. "Greenization" contributes to protecting the earth, being environmentally friendly and adapting to climate change.
But just "digitization" and "greenization" are not enough to portray the new generation of enterprises and entrepreneurs. I want to emphasize the trend of "socialization", in other words the social responsibility of enterprises. The time when enterprises considered profit to be the ultimate was over, today's enterprises set the goal of serving society as the top destination. The "social" substance in enterprises is increasing and the "social enterprise" model is the choice of many startups. The humanistic and sustainable socialist-oriented market economic model will be the future of Vietnam's economy.
The happenings during the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic which led to unpredictable changes in all aspects has helped each entrepreneur understand that the stature of an enterprise is no longer measured primarily by money but by respect of the society with their dedication and commitment instead. Top entrepreneurs are already telling us human stories, not just business stories. A lot of enterprises contributed efforts and money to the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic of the whole society through shipments of goods, medical equipment, servings sent to the anti-epidemic frontline forces; valuable vaccines...
Many enterprises accepted losses to maintain production to ensure the supply of essential goods to serve the needs of the people. Many enterprises were willing to shake hands and support each other by exchanging materials and swapping values instead of having to pay cash. Enterprises and entrepreneurs have been becoming increasingly responsible to each other, employees, partners and society.
Appreciation of social responsibility
The role of entrepreneurs in the previous period with important contributions in turning the country into a middle-income country and a country with high development speed could not be denied. However, when Vietnam started to open up, the Law on Enterprises created favorable conditions for entrepreneurs to develop with few constraints, which resulted in the fact that the enterprises focused on real estate, exploiting natural resources, etc., without upholding sustainable development standard. In the new context, the entrepreneurs not only needs to improve their competitiveness but also consider social responsibility as a top important mission. They can only become enterprises that think big and make big for the country by this way.
Mr. CHU TIEN DUNG, Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Union of Business Associations (HUBA): Working together towards the destination
The period of time of "living with the epidemic" tested the sense of responsibility and resilience of the business community in Ho Chi Minh City. There were entrepreneurs who couldn't survive, there were enterprises that had to retreat from the market. However, the remaining entrepreneurs were not afraid of danger, persistently held on, maintained jobs for workers and joined hands to contribute to fighting the epidemic together with the city and the whole country.
On the occasion of Vietnam Entrepreneurs’ Day October 13 of this year, HUBA's biggest message is that enterprises are committed to standing side by side with the city in recovering and reopening the economy. While this was the first time that the city's economy has declined sharply and enterprises have faced such great difficulties as today, entrepreneurs with the spirit of creativity, dynamism, flexibility, adaptability and pioneering have determined that their mission in the economic front is to enrich the city, their enterprises and r employees. To fulfill this mission, enterprises need the cooperation, solidarity and companionship of the whole political system.
Mr. TRAN NGOC TAM, General Director of Nam A Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Nam A Bank): The bank always accompanies enterprises
With the criterion of considering customers as partners, in the context when the prolonged Covid-19 epidemic makes enterprises become very difficult, we do not stand aside but deploy a series of flexible support policies for each segment and each specific customer according to the State Bank of Vietnam's regulations on debt structuring, interest rate and fee exemption and reduction and debt group immobilization.
At the same time, the bank also deployed new credit granting to potential customers with recovery potential because new capital to maintain and restore production and business activities is also very important. For example, the main credit areas of Nam A Bank for the past time such as export seafood, rice, agricultural products, etc. will continue to have new loans lent by the Bank with low interest rates, only 5%-6%/ year.
The Bank's Board of Directors has just issued a resolution stating the goal of focusing on supporting key customers; apply solutions closely related to each enterprise in accordance with the criterion of "providing the right medicine for each enterprise". We also recommend the State Bank of Vietnam to extend the credit line to have more capital to provide new credit for potential enterprises.
As an entrepreneur of a particular enterprise, I sympathize and understand the difficulties of other enterprises. We want enterprises to find a suitable solution based on their internal resources, gradually recover and overcome the "storm" of Covid-19.
Mr. PHAM HUY BINH, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saigontourist Group: Maintain to create development momentum.
The impacts of the Covid-19 epidemic are beyond imagination. Not standing aside of global influence, Saigontourist Group also suffered from serious damages. In the most difficult times, we thoroughly grasped the motto of calm, flexibility, responsibility, promptly providing optimal solutions in possible conditions to both reduce damages and try to maintain the foundation for creating sustainable development momentum when the epidemic is under control.
Experience in safe operation when the epidemic situation worsened is one of the reasons Saigontourist Group is trusted by leaders of the City Party Committee, Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, Ministry of Health... , to assign the mission of serving the anti-epidemic frontline medical force in the city.
Since June 2021, Saigontourist Group has received more than 200 delegations of the Ministry of Health, central departments and agencies; received and served more than 25,000 doctor delegations from central hospitals, provinces and cities nationwide... From September 19 to October 7, Saigontourist Group sponsored and successfully organized 10 gratitude tours in Can Gio, Cu Chi (HCMC) for over 1,100 anti-epidemic frontline doctors.
Currently, enterprises have prepared specific business plans at each unit, each locality with the goal of developing products and services to ensure safety, quality and competition... The biggest wish of mine and Saigontourist Group is that life will return to normal soon so that the tourism industry has the opportunity to continue serving customers and continue its growth momentum.
Mr. NGUYEN DINH TRUNG, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hung Thinh Corporation: Sharing to move forward together
Understanding the impacts of Covid-19 epidemic that spared nobody, we decided to "take a step back so that everyone can move forward". We continuously implemented the program of giving customers back 5% of the payment value from the second phase of the contract; support reducing the rent of premises of commercial centers; free rent for units operating in the field of education... Chance will be present in risks, I believe that if each of us, with our pure hearts, believes in sustainable development, if we all take a step back, we can move forward, but if anyone wants to take one more step to win their favor in difficult times, they cannot overcome difficulties.
In addition, the sustainable development of enterprises and the economy must be associated with the progress of the community and society. For the past 20 years, we have always shared and contributed to society through a series of activities to support people in difficult circumstances, award scholarships to poor students who were fond of learing, etc. with total budget of more than VND 800 billion.
During this Covid-19 epidemic alone, we spent nearly 200 billion VND on activities to join hands to fight the epidemic; energize frontline forces; support ambulance, medical equipment, supplies...
Mr. NGUYEN ANH DUC, General Director of Ho Chi Minh City Union of Trading Cooperatives (Saigon Co.op): Believe in signs of prosperity
As the main retail unit of Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon Co.op is proud to have chosen to sacrifice the interests of the enterprise, specifically cutting down its profit and revenue to maintain operation during the complicated months of Covid-19 epidemic and supply enough goods to consumers at the most supportive prices. We are also very proud because despite facing many difficulties, we still took care of our employees, re-coordinated the income fund to create more fairness for employees...
With the central role of the southern key economic region, the city has been a pioneer in epidemic prevention and fighting, re-opening of the economy. Under the new normal state, the city is implementing solutions that are unprecedented and uncomparable with any other province or city nationwide.
However, it is necessary to consult with other countries and cities around the world to ensure enough strength to revive the economy. I believe that the current epidemic control situation and the proposed solutions will help the business community prosper. In particular, the retail industry will certainly grow again, but in a different way, such as changes in market structure, activities, shopping habits, etc.
Mr. LE HONG HA, General Director of Vietnam Airlines Corporation: Covid-19 left historical lessons
According to the most recent forecast of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the world aviation market will recover to 88% of 2019 by 2022 and fully recover compared to the time before the epidemic by 2023. In Vietnam, based on the accelerating progress of vaccination, we assess that the market can recover gradually in the fourth quarter of this year.
To prepare for 2022, we built a forecast of the level of market recovery under 3 scenarios: high, medium and low in order to proactively plan production and business management. In the first phase, Vietnam Airlines will restore passenger transport service under the direction and permission of the competent authorities; look for opportunities to open new routes and willing to increase frequency on peak occasions…
The Covid-19 epidemic left historical lessons for companies, corporations and entrepreneurs in general. Hopefully in the coming time, the Vietnamese business community and entrepreneurs will continue to stand side by side and synergize with practical programs and activities to create the strength of solidarity, promote the recovery and development of each enterprise as well as the economy.
Mr. DANG HONG ANH, Vice Chairman of TTC Group, Chairman of Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs Association: Small and medium-sized enterprises develop together
For the past time, the Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs Association has cooperated with member enterprises to successfully implement many meaningful social programs, especially series of "ATM" activities, such as rice ATM, oxygen ATM, F0 ATM for fighting against the epidemic, ATM for vaccination human resources, ATM for donating blood to save life, love ATM...
Vietnam is facing many challenges. How to "drive" the country to control well and overcome the epidemic for enterprises to develop stably? I think that every enterprise needs to proactively and quickly transform digitally and do business on an electronic platform; enhance smart management solutions. The business community needs to combine to create supply chains that bring the best competitive value to enterprises and pull small and medium-sized enterprises to develop together.
Ms. NGUYEN HUONG, General Director of Dai Phuc Land: Cooperation and high determination are required
The outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic caused many disturbances, putting each entrepreneur in a state of resistance, facing and overcoming. We are ready for the resumption of investment and business activities in the last quarter of the year - an important period to accelerate and compensate for the period that was heavily affected by the epidemic.
Entering a new period, we identify changing to adapt, specifically adjusting investment and business activities in accordance with the reality and trends of the market. More than ever, enterprises need the cooperation and determination of the system at all levels from the central to local levels in resuming the economy quickly and effectively through measures to stimulate demand; solution packages to support enterprises. This is also the time when a drastic and comprehensive change is needed in administrative procedures, eliminating overlapping legal procedures... to help open up development resources of enterprises, domestic and foreign investors, thereby promote the country's economy to develop sustainably in line with its inherent potential.
Ms. DANG THI KIM OANH, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kim Oanh Group: Without change, it will be difficult to develop.
We do not forget our responsibilities to the community, society and the country because of difficulties. For the past five months, through Kim Oanh Charity Fund, we have spent more than VND 75 billion to carry out 6 programs to support the care and treatment of people infected with Covid-19 and those in need, including: donate mechanical ventilators and medical supplies to hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients; sentimentalrice seed program for the poor; special Covid-19 medicine for patients; home F0 remedies for journalists, monks and nuns at temples...
During this epidemic, we had time to reflect and review the things we need to change, for example restructuring the working diagram; bringing to market better products and meet the needs of customers in the post-social isolation period. We are well aware that without changing the mindset, it will be difficult to develop.
What the entrepreneurs is that the State and local authorities understand the difficulties of enterprises, quickly remove the bottlenecks in administrative procedures so that enterprises can deploy projects quickly and conveniently.
According to nld.com.vn