At the forum (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The first forum on doing business in the Francophone community in the Asia Pacific began in Hanoi on September 20, discussing ways to assist startups in the region.

The two-day event, co-organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF), is scheduled to run through various sessions on female startups, business development in a Francophone space, and supporting micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises, among others.

In his opening speech, VCCI Vice President Hoang Quang Phong said that with the support of the OIF, the VCCI has carried out several activities to assist Vietnamese enterprises in trade and investment cooperation with Francophone firms in the Asia Pacific, particularly French-speaking African countries.

He said the forum is an OIF initiative as part of the organisation’s programme on boosting employment via female and youth startups.

The forum offers an opportunity for delegates to exchange experience and put forth measures to step up trade and investment within the Francophone community, Phong noted, adding that youths and women play a key role in the development of a nation.

OIF Director for the Asia Pacific Eric Normand Thibeault said the forum will help enterprises meet up and set up long-term partnerships via the establishment of a startup network in the region.

Discussing the status of women in business, Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council (VWEC), said that creating the ground for a successful startup is not easy, particularly if it is led by a female entrepreneur as there are simply not as many opportunities available for women in the field.

It requires concerted efforts from individuals, organisations, and governments to build startup ecosystems, she stated.

The Francophone community has 84 members and observers from five continents, with a combined population of about 900 million, including 220 million French-speaking people. The community accounts for 13 percent of the world’s GDP.

Vietnam was among the founding countries of the OIF in 1970. Over the years, the OIF has maintained active cooperation with Vietnam, including the exchange of training and technical expertise in a number of fields.–VNA