Beverage giant cooperates to promote development of Vietnamese SMEs in joining global value chains. 

by Hong Nhung

Coca-Cola Vietnam has recently announced it will assist local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through a mentorship program, in line with its sustainability commitment to help improve their capabilities. It recently participated in the SMEs Symposium 2017, entitled “Elevating Vietnamese SMEs to the Fourth Industrial Revolution World” and held in Ho Chi Minh City.

The symposium was an integral part of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Coca-Cola Vietnam. It also served as a venue to announce those companies that qualify to join Coca-Cola’s supply chain consulting program.

The symposium follows a chain of activities to achieve the objectives of the Vietnamese Government as stated at the 24th APEC SME Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM 24), organized by the Ministry of Planning and Investment in September under the theme “Improving Competitiveness, Innovation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the Age of Globalization”. Facilitating regional SMEs’ opportunities for innovation and access to information networks and global markets in the digital age is one of the four main priorities of APEC 2017.

The SMEs Symposium 2017 featured discussions on the need for Vietnamese SMEs to have the direction and resources needed to accelerate the application of technology, update or transform their business model to maximize the trends in the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), seize opportunities to cooperate, join the supply chain of American companies, and enter global markets.

“The fourth industrial revolution is increasingly affecting all countries worldwide,” said Mr. Sanket Ray, CEO of Coca-Cola Vietnam. “It is the role of multinational corporations like Coca-Cola to actively promote and enhance the confidence of SMEs, enabling them to leverage the technological advancements of this new revolution to improve business efficiency and be able to quickly join the global value chain.”

Taking into consideration the important role of SMEs in its operations, Coca-Cola has focused on creating opportunities for them to become part of its global supply chain through programs in capacity building and improving business efficiency and competitiveness.

“We believe that American multinational companies should work hand-in-hand with the government and local businesses to elevate SMEs in joining the fourth industrial revolution world,” said Ambassador of the US to Vietnam, H.E. Michael W. Michalak. “Therefore, in 2017, US-ABC and its members have remained committed to supporting the success of Vietnamese small businesses by holding three workshops and one final symposium today.”

The “Supporting SMEs in Vietnam for Sustainable Development” project is part of Coca-Cola’s effort to improve the capability and competitiveness of SMEs in the era of Industry 4.0 and in the spirit of the 24th APEC SME Ministerial Meeting. It has been implemented by Coca-Cola Vietnam in cooperation with the US-ABC since 2016 and in partnership with VCCI’s Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) this year. The project aims to improve the performance of SMEs through in-depth training and mentoring on three topics: supply chain management, innovation, and corporate social responsibility.

Some 12 SMEs were selected to participate in VCCI’s training program and gain mentorship from consultants and experts, and eight were confirmed as being qualified to participate in Coca-Cola’s supply chain consulting program, covering areas such as packaging, logistics, distribution and marketing, communications, technology, and telecommunications. The training not only gave participants access to technology but also improved their governance, consulting, and business connections so that they can develop further.

“We look forward to supporting improvements in the performance of SMEs through in-depth training and mentoring, to help businesses better capture new business opportunities and effectively solve the challenges of sustainable development,” said Mr. Nguyen Duc Binh, Director of VCCI’s Small and Medium Enterprise Support Center.