HA NOI, 14 December 2015 – More than 150 women entrepreneurs from ASEAN met in Ha Noi to share experiences and chart the way forward through a work plan on the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship and business mainstreaming in ASEAN. Aptly entitled “ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN) Conference on ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs and the New Regional Economy: Ready for Action!”, the conference served as a platform where participants discussed efficient business models, modalities, practices, success stories and lessons learned in fostering women enterprise start-up, development and internationalisation in ASEAN. AWEN representatives, selected participants and resource persons then considered and developed the AWEN work program for 2016-2017 to push the boundaries forward in gender business inclusion and empowerment in ASEAN.

“Since launching in April 2014, a major role of AWEN is to foster women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship development,” said AWEN Chair Madame Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh during her opening remarks. “I would therefore encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from each other as this Conference is meant to provide a venue to share information and review experiences.”

Mr. Nguyen Hoa Cuong, Deputy Director-General of the Agency for Enterprise Development (AED), Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) of Viet Nam said, “this conference is important to establish a work plan that supports women entrepreneurs in their commercial and economic activities within the region, with the eventual goal of reducing gender disparities and enhancing women empowerment.” Mr. Nguyen Hoa Cuong expressed his satisfaction that the Conference also helps to build closer linkages between the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community and the ASEAN Economic Community in support of the ASEAN Community’s primary goal of achieving broad-based equitable development, thus narrowing the development gap in the region.

The two-day conference is conducted by the U.S. Agency for International Development through the ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment project, in collaboration with the ASEAN SME Agencies Working Group and its country focal point, the Agency for Enterprise Development of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, AWEN, the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council and the ASEAN Secretariat.

# # #