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Using Business Thinking to Strengthen Provincial Capacity in Vietnam

As part of a consortium with Chemonics and Portland State University, JAA is implementing the USAID-funded Vietnam Strengthening Provincial Capacity (SPC) activity. The consortium is working with two Vietnamese institutions – the School of Government at the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City (SOG/UEH) and the Startup Vietnam Foundation (SVF) – to improve the responsiveness, quality, and sustainability of economic governance capacity improvement offerings available to provincial officials. This project will strengthen these institutions with the ultimate goal of enhancing the capacity of provincial officials and improving economic governance.  

JAA is working with SVF to strengthen its ability to provide services that build entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems in provinces away from the major cities whose ecosystems have received the most attention and support and with SOG/UEH to become more market-driven in offering training, consulting, and support services to provinces. For both institutions, a focus of JAA’s work is on supporting the long-term sustainability of SOG/UEH and SVF so that they can continue offering high-quality services demanded by provincial officials. 

In the initial phase of this project, JAA has worked closely with SOG/UEH and SVF to review and enhance their business models to support sustainability. Through this, the institutions are developing their abilities to identify market needs and respond to these with appropriate products and services. These enhanced business models have built on and incorporated work conduct by SPC on gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) to ensure that the institutions are both offering services that extend opportunities across all groups in Vietnamese society and foster inclusion within the institutions themselves. The institutional business models for SOG/UEH and SVF were submitted to USAID in December 2019. JAA will provide ongoing support and institutional mentoring through this process so that the institutions are able to effectively implement recommendations and achieve their organizational goals.  

In the second year of the project, JAA has continued to support SOG/UEH and SVF in refining and implementing their business models by supporting a variety of activities including ongoing monitoring, market needs assessment exercises, and product development. JAA provides assistance through a mix of coaching and training in order to introduce new concepts and skills and ensure their effective application over time. 

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