Danish fund to expand support for Vietnam's small business

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The Global Competition Facility, a fund financed by the Danish government, will expand its support of small and medium-sized local enterprises (SMEs).

Amarnath Reddy, the facility's senior advisor, said the Danish International Development Agency or Danida increased its financial support to VND210 billion in aid to be distributed from 2010 to 2015.

The move comes at the close of Danida's first phase of development aid. From 2006 to now, they have supplied VND115 billion to Vietnamese SMEs based in Ha Tay, Nghe An, Khanh Hoa and Lam Dong provinces.

Enterprises accepting the funding will need to expand operations into other rural provinces, said Reddy. These new locations include Dak-Lak, An Giang, Thanh Hoa, Phu Yen, Lam Dong and Can Tho provinces.

According to Reddy, the target locations were suggested by the Vietnamese government.

The adviser said the facility focused on private SMEs seeking to improve their competitiveness in domestic and export markets or develop new production technology.

State-owned businesses were excluded from receiving funding, he told Thanh Nien Weekly.

He added that the funding was granted to agriculture, tourism, and business sectors employing large numbers of women laborers.

The funding has spurred a total of 96 projects related to products as various as fisheries, flowers, handicrafts, and tea.

Le Van Cuong, director of Dalat GAP, said the money has helped his fruit and vegetable firm break into Japan, the toughest export market in Asia.

Cuong said that Danida started lending the firm financial and technical support in late 2008. Since then, Dalat GAP has used new technology to cultivate red peppers and tomatoes that meet international Good Agriculture Practice standards.

Cuong said his firm signed contracts to export 100 tons of red pepper worth VND7.2 billion to Japan this year and expected to inject 400 tons into the island's market next year.

The entrepreneur believes his firm will generate VND1 billion in revenue from the domestic market alone in 2010.

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