SMEs fail to make use of plentiful assistance in HCM City hinh anh 1At the conference (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – A number of organisations in Ho Chi Minh City have provided assistance and consultancy for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) while banks have offered them loans on easy terms but they do not make use of either consultancy or loans, heard a conference in the city on October 3.

Tran Ngoc Liem, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s HCM City Branch, said representative offices of central agencies in the city and the VCCI have set up centres to assist SMEs.

Many banks have a dedicated division for providing consultancy and credit to SMEs, he said.

But SMEs do not make use of the centres to learn about policies and laws, or take advantage of support from the banks to get loans, he added.

Tran Thi Lien Phuong, research director at market research company Insight Asia, said the multiplicity of agencies offering assistance causes confusion among SMEs in choosing from them.

The Government should have a single channel providing information about these centres to SMEs and ensure that the consultancy they provide is optimal, she suggested.

Insight Asia’s studies found that many SMEs in the manufacturing sector want an efficient and sustainable production environment to develop their business, she said.

But in its absence, they continue to be small or very small, Phuong noted.

Their weaknesses along with the rapid changes in the global economy make them increasingly vulnerable, she added.

An executive from a city bank said many of SMEs do not have any strategy for getting loans before contacting banks.

They would have warehouses worth billions of VND to mortgage against loans, but built without official approval meaning banks could not accept them, he said.

Some delegates suggested that SMEs could use their contracts with customers and hi-technology production processes as assets to mortgage.

SMEs should have at least 40 percent of owners’ equity capital and not just 20 percent, and they should not be highly leveraged, they warned.

Do Khac Cuong of Microsoft Vietnam said digital transformation could engage SMEs’ customers, empower their employees, transform their products, and optimise their operations.

Lam Dieu Tam Hieu, deputy general director of Kizuna JV Corporation, said many SMEs want to have warehouses or manufacturing facilities at industrial parks, but cannot afford them.

She suggested that property companies should build warehouses with proper infrastructure for SMEs to lease.

This model could save SMEs a lot of money, she added./.