How doing good is good for business - Vietnam's LIN Center connects with local corporates
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Wendy Richardson

Business impact and community impact – where to meet?

On 28 June 2018, the LIN Center for Community Development, in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce HCMC and the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam, proudly hosted their second annual conference How Doing Good is Good for Business. This year’s conference introduced and facilitated discussion about the creation of shared value models, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable development, providing participants with a unique platform for developing understanding and building partnerships that will create socio-economic impact in Vietnam.

LIN’s mission is to build an ecosystem for community development in Vietnam, and it is particularly well placed to bring together parties from different sectors thanks to the unique position it holds, and the strength it offers as a local, Vietnamese connection. The conference has helped LIN build awareness of the space they occupy in community development, and shown that a local non-profit organization (NPO) can be a major player in the sector.

The conference was attended by over 270 participants, including many high-level executives and senior management from multi-nationals and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), wanting to optimize and strengthen their CSR tools for strategic business development. Also attending were over 60 NPOs eager to find innovative models for development, and ways to collaborate with businesses sharing common goals.

 

Showcasing the benefits of cross-sector collaboration

The business and corporate communities are important allies for LIN and local NPOs, as these sectors are taking a lead role in community engagement and development, pushing forward with long-term, strategic objectives that work to create shared values across sectors.

During the conference, representatives from the corporate sector sought to develop their understanding of how CSR tools could be optimized to benefit businesses strategically, while creating shared value with new partners, especially those from the non-profit sector. Businesses play an important role in the socio-economic development of Vietnam, not only through funding but also by providing skills, leadership capabilities and network connections needed by NPOs to deliver on their objectives.

With overseas donors withdrawing their support, and minimal funding provided by governmental bodies, strengthening relations with the private sector is now seen as essential if local NPOs are to continue operating effectively. In return, the non-profit sector understands community needs, has their trust, and brings the know-how to deliver on social projects, helping businesses build valuable relationships in their fields of operation and develop their CSR initiatives more strategically.

 

Warrick Cleine's keynote speech 

Partnership for a Vibrant Vietnam

The conference’s keynote speech was given by Warrick Cleine, Chairman and CEO of KPMG Vietnam and Cambodia, who shared lessons from KPMG’s approach to CSR, stressing the importance of developing partnerships in order to achieve shared social goals.

Prior to giving the keynote speech, Cleine signed a three-year collaborative agreement between KPMG and LIN, outlining their commitment to building thriving communities and sustainable business in a Partnership for a Vibrant Vietnam. As the joint partnership progresses, it will illustrate how both businesses and NPOs are able to benefit from collaboration through capacity building, skills and leadership development, and strategic funding.

 

Cornerstones for development

Following the keynote speech, there was a high-level panel discussion, facilitated by Christina Ameln, Founder of Ameln & Co, and Member of the Board of LIN. During the discussion, representatives from the Vietnamese, Irish and Luxembourg governments, the private and non-governmental sectors, as well as individual philanthropists, shared insights and experiences of why and how cross-sector partnerships are important for creating mutual value.

During the discussion, panelist Ambassador Cáit Moran, Ambassador of Ireland to Vietnam, emphasized the importance of building strong inter-sector relationships, as these partnerships form the cornerstone for long-term, sustainable development in Vietnam. Ambassador Moran also noted how the conference had grown in size from the previous year and how this was an indication of the importance of such events for Vietnam’s corporate and non-profit communities.

 

Conference outcomes and lessons learned

The conference was well received by all participants, attendees and stakeholders, with survey feedback confirming a high level of satisfaction. As an immediate result of the conference, one of LIN’s non-profit partners, VietSeeds, received two scholarships (valued at USD $8,000) from an individual philanthropist. Success stories like this are what make it all worthwhile.

Corporate sector participants shared that the conference provided them with a greater understanding of where and with whom they could share their CSR visions, and the chance to explore valuable partnership opportunities. Overall, the conference provided a valuable platform for like-minded people to come together, meet, network and share goals for creating sustainable social values that benefit both business and the wider community.

Key lessons that LIN learned from hosting the conference include the importance of forward planning to ensure a wide audience is reached through the event’s marketing strategy. Although the conference day ran on time and as planned, reflective feedback suggested a need for greater audience participation allowing for more meaningful engagement as part of the conference’s structure, not just during the time for networking.

As LIN looks to the future,  as the only intermediary NPO in Vietnam, it will continue to be a strong connector among all levels; to create comprehensive and collective sustainable impact. By leveraging the conference’s outcomes, partnerships and connections, LIN will continue to build its organizational brand, strengthen its core messages and highlight the impact that it continues to create.

 

Watch a short video of the conference as well as other videos from the LIN Center, including How partnerships could accelerate nonprofits to make changes and Partnerships toward mutual impact: in the lenses of business and nonprofit leaders.

Article originally appeared on Global Fund for Community Foundations (http://www.globalfundcommunityfoundations.org/).
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