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Memorandum of understanding paves way for first women’s entrepreneurial center in Vientiane

September 29, 2017

On Friday, September 29, 2017, World Education, Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding with the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry to establish a women’s entrepreneurial center. 

The Women’s Entrepreneurial Center (WEC) project in Vientiane will help female entrepreneurs start their own businesses and support those who are seeking to expand existing businesses.

Strengthening entrepreneurship and small business growth is essential to the Government of Lao's plan to graduate from least-developed country (LDC) status by 2020. While women play a pivotal role in social transformation and economic development, many lack access to capital, networks, and skills-training. The establishment of the WEC in Vientiane, where no such entity exists, will allow women to create and sustain businesses under the mentorship of experts in their field. When the project ends, women will be able to continue their businesses and contribute to the growth of the country.

The WEC will be a forum for incubating new business ideas and supporting existing businesses. World Education, under the guidance of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will ensure that the WEC will meet the needs of women entrepreneurs by providing: a) access to female business role models who will share their expertise and stories with aspiring entrepreneurs during regular informational talks; b) equipment and resources; c) training in relevant topics, such as small business management, financial literacy, website design, and English language; and, d) access to finance information sessions from a range of financial service providers through the Microfinance Association.

The three-year WEC project,  which is funded by U.S. Department of State, East Asia Pacific Bureau, aims to reach 600 female entrepreneurs.

World Education has been operational in Laos since 1992. Today, working in nine provinces supporting more than 300,000 people a year, World Education is dedicated to working through participatory and multi-disciplinary approaches to empower communities, families, and individuals through programs in education, health (with a particular focus on disability), mine action, and economic development.

The MOU signing ceremony was witnessed by visiting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Mr. Wilbur Ross; Vice Minister of Industry and Commerce  Mr. Somchit Inthamit; U.S. Ambassador to Laos Ms. Rena Bitter; Vice President of Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr. Daovone Phachanthavong; and guests from Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lao Business Women’s Association, Lao Handicraft Association, and Houey Hong Vocational Training Center.

Learn more at laos.worlded.org/.