Social Business Creation
The Case Study of Reaching Out Vietnam
Conducted by SEEDU’s project: Tran Minh Quan, Nguyen Mai Thao Tram, Pham Anh Quynh Duyen, Ly Van Dung, Huynh Thi Kim Lam, Huynh Vu Nha Tran.
Reaching Out Vietnam is a social enterprise that was established in Hoi An, Vietnam, in 2000. The organization’s mission is to support disabled and disadvantaged artisans in the region by providing them with vocational training, employment opportunities, and a sustainable source of income through the production and sale of handicrafts.
Reaching Out Vietnam was founded by Mister Le Nguyen Binh and his wife Miss Mai Thi Kim Quyen, who fell in love with the culture and people of Hoi An. Mr. Binh, the founder and former CEO of Reaching Out Vietnam, became disabled as a young man. His struggles motivated him to create a setting where other People With Disability (PWD) could learn skills and integrate fully into their communities through education, meaningful work, and empowerment. He has developed the social enterprise by forceful yet sincere leadership, as well as by setting a positive and courageous example for others. Therefore, Mr. Binh is responsible for the strategy, budget, technology, and coordination with consultants and subject matter experts. Being a strong PWD advocate, he was a sought-after source for individuals looking for ways to get over obstacles.
In addition, Miss Quyen, co-founder, CEO and Binh’s wife, was in charge of sales and marketing, which included managing supplier connections, purchasing, hiring personnel, managing manufacturing, and supervising creative design. As an advocate for her employees’ growth and pleasure, Quyen ensured they have opportunities for ongoing development and overall ưellness that promoted civic engagement. Her proficiency in sign language has made it simple for hearing and deaf staff members to communicate. She was the inspiration behind our high standards of quality and outstanding client care. Quyen, a mother of two sons, was a prime example of the delicate juggle between the demands of job and family life. Mr. Binh and Ms. Quyen noticed that many people with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds lacked access to education and employment opportunities, which made it difficult for them to support themselves and their families. Do decided to create a social enterprise that could address this issue and promote the traditional handicrafts of the region.
· Company’s Objective
According to Le and Chan (2018), Reaching Out Vietnam’s primary goal is to empower people with disabilities and help them achieve financial independence through vocational training and employment opportunities. The organization offers training programs in traditional handicrafts, such as embroidery, silk weaving, and pottery, as well as in modern skills such as IT and hospitality. Participants in the program receive training and support to help them develop their skills and gain confidence, and are then employed by Reaching Out Vietnam to create high-quality products that are sold in the organization’s retail outlets and online store.
· Business’s Products
Reaching Out Vietnam produces a wide range of handicrafts, including tea&coffee accessories, jewelry, home decor items, and pottery. The organization uses sustainable materials and traditional techniques to create these products, which are sold in its flagship store in Hoi An, as well as through its online store and through retail partners around the world.
Reaching Out Vietnam has partnerships with a number of organizations and institutions, both in Vietnam and internationally. The organization works with local schools and vocational training centers to recruit trainees for its programs, and it partners with other social enterprises and fair trade organizations to promote ethical and sustainable practices in the handicraft industry. Reaching Out Vietnam also participates in trade shows and events around the world to promote its products and mission.
· Outstanding Awards
Reaching Out Vietnam has received several awards and recognitions for its work, including the PATA Gold Award for Corporate Social Responsibility, the ASEAN Outstanding Business Award for Social Responsibility, and the UNESCO Seal of Excellence for Handicrafts.
Since its founding, Reaching Out Vietnam has expanded its operations to include a second training and production center in the nearby town of Dien Ban. The organization has also established partnerships with other social enterprises and fair trade organizations around the world to promote ethical and sustainable practices in the handicraft industry.
· Impact on Community
Since its founding, according to Verheijke (2020), Reaching Out Vietnam has trained over 100 artisans with both able bodied and the disabled and provided employment opportunities to many more. The organization has also helped to preserve traditional handicrafts that were in danger of being lost as younger generations moved away from their rural communities. This organization uses natural dyes and materials, such as bamboo and recycled paper, to create its products, and it encourages its artisans to use sustainable practices in their production processes. Through its social enterprise model, Reaching Out Vietnam has been able to generate a sustainable source of income for its artisans and reinvest the profits back into the organization’s training and employment programs. The organization has received international recognition for its work, including awards from the United Nations Development Programme and the International Labor Organization. Therefore, in addition to providing employment opportunities to disabled and disadvantaged artisans, Reaching Out Vietnam is also committed to environmental sustainability. The organization uses natural dyes and materials, such as bamboo and recycled paper, to create its products, and it encourages its artisans to use sustainable practices in their production processes.
Reaching Out Vietnam is a successful example of a social enterprise that has been able to create a positive social impact while also generating a sustainable source of income. By providing vocational training and employment opportunities to disabled and disadvantaged artisans, the organization has helped to promote economic development and preserve traditional handicrafts in the Hoi An area.
2. Verheijke, E. (2020). Empowering artisans with disabilities in Vietnam. UNDP Vietnam. Available at: https://www.vn.undp.org/content/vietnam/en/home/stories/empowering-artisans-with-disabilities-in-vietnam.html [Accessed 27 Apr. 2023].
3. Le, K. & Chan, C. (2018). Reaching Out Handicrafts: A Social Enterprise Model. Cornell University ILR School. Available at: https://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1153&context=gladnetcollect [Accessed 27 Apr. 2023].