Over 2,200 small and medium enterprises (SME) across Vietnam have over the past two years been provided with information and legal knowledge to become more competitive.

They have benefited from a project to enhance the capacity of SMEs, especially those in rural areas, after Vietnam joined the World Trade Organisation six years ago.

The work was organised jointly by the Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, the Science Institute for SMEs and the Beyond WTO Programme.

Under the project, 23 SME consultancy offices were set up at association branches in 23 provinces nationwide, including Thai Binh, Hung Yen, Nghe An, Dak Nong and Ho Chi Minh City.

Association Vice President Dinh Hanh said consultancy offices now help enterprises with tax policy, capital and market information, which the enterprises once relied on other agencies in the past.

Project director Pham The Hung said the project also offered training courses for businessmen and consultants at SME consultancy offices while developing an online database that helped them better access information.

The online database, or "online integration library" as it was known, provided nearly 3,000 documents about economic integration, domestic and international regulations and policies, business start-ups, business governance and market studies.

SMEs in rural areas were found to need advice on capital access, technology application, trade promotion and legal documents about Vietnam's commitments when joining the WTO, as well as international law.

The project costing around 290,000 USD was implemented in November 2011, as part of the Beyond WTO Programme, and funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the UK Department for International Development.-VNA