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Developing Entrepreneurial Women (DEW)

Building female entrepreneurial skills for small to medium enterprises (sme) in ASEAN countries

The aim of this AusAID funded program is to develop and launch locally tailored training programs for ASEAN women in SME's to develop their entrepreneurial and business skills. The program consists of two sub-projects in;

  • Vietnam, in partnership with University of Economics & Business Vietnam National University (UEB-VNU). Dr Richard Seymour will be managing this project with UEB-VNU staff. 
  • Cambodia, in partnership with University of Battambang, (UBB).  Our colleagues in the Marketing Department, Dr Marylouise Caldwell and Prof Paul Henry, will be managing the project in Cambodia with UBB.

A brief profile of our regional partners is below:

Stakeholders Profile

University of Economics & Business, Vietnam National University (UEB-VNU)

The Vietnam National University, Hanoi, was the first modern university established in Vietnam and is one of two national universities in Vietnam.  VNU holds a special position in Vietnam's higher education system, and along with Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh, it is considered to be the top university in Vietnam. It enjoys a high level of autonomy and reports directly to the Prime Minister.  VNU is also the country's key scientific research centre, and its system of research institutes and centres play a key role in the research of various national development strategies.  The University of Business and Economics is the premier business school in Vietnam, and is a member of the Association of Asia-Pacific Business Schools.

University of Battambang, Cambodia (UBB)

University of Battambang is a centre of excellence in education and research in Cambodia. It was founded by H.E. Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior in 2007.  UBB's goal is to educate the leaders of tomorrow in a wide range of fields through a balance of theory and practice, and the integration of real world experiences into academic education.


The ASEAN DEW Program aims to achieve the following four key outcomes:

  • Strengthen the entrepreneurial capabilities and business skills of local women in Cambodia and Vietnam who complete the program to initiate and build successful SME's in their respective country. This will increase their opportunity for permanent employment which in turn will reduce inequality and facilitate inclusive economic growth.
  • Strengthened educational capability of UBB and UEB-VNU in business and entrepreneurship. At the end of the Activity both counterpart organisations will have the legacy of an ongoing and sustainable teaching program in entrepreneurship that is staffed by locally trained teachers.
  • Build a local research focus that would complement teaching and outreach programs already existing at UBB and UEB-VNU, thereby advancing their ability to develop both teaching and outreach insights that would inform education as well as practice.
  • Build productive networks within country (between industry, government and educators).

Support and Funding

AusAID is supporting the initiative with a $240,000 grant, from June 2011 to 2013.

Key Events and Activities, Vietnam

The Vietnam project took full affect in June 2011 with the start of the AusAID grant. It was decided a train-the-trainer program would have the greatest impact both in reach and sustainability. Vietnam has a number of professional bodies, associations and unions already engaged with local women running micro to small-medium enterprises. The training program will equip these trainers with the knowledge and skills in business and entrepreneurial thinking to include in their training delivery.
Progress throughout 2011 can be attributed to the key activities and events outlined below.




Planning and visit to UEB-VNU, Hanoi

June - August, 2011

Developed a 6 month Work Plan
Planned workshop at Sydney Uni
Identified potential stakeholders to  engage

Workshop at Sydney University

September, 2011

Six UEB-VNU delegates attended a 5 day workshop in Sydney to develop teaching curriculum, and program framework in collaboration with Sydney Uni staff, government and industry representatives.

Program Development

October-November, 2011

Engaged stakeholders and established Advisory Council
Developed draft teaching material, curriculum and schedule

International Seminar, hosted by UEB-VNU in Hanoi

December, 2011

Representatives from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, the University of Battambang in Cambodia, the University of Economics and Business in Vietnam, Chiba University in Japan, and The University of Sydney shared their expertise on women in entrepreneurship, reviewed the DEW program's progress, and planned a research agenda for future development and collaboration.

The Project Launching Ceremony

December, 2011

UEB-VNU and USYD jointly organized a launching ceremony with the participation of the Australian Ambassador in Vietnam, local training organizations and other partners.

UEB signed an agreement with The University of Sydney detailing the program's implementation. An MOU was also signed by UEB and the Hanoi Business Association, the Central Women's School (Vietnamese Women's Union) and the 8/3 Career Training Center (Hai Duong Women's Union) to deliver the program.

The Ceremony was attended by 15 media organisations, and received media coverage across:

  • 4 television channels
  • 21 online articles
  • 3 printed newspapers

UEB-VNU, and UBB capacity building visit to NSRCEL at IIMB India

February, 2012

Two UEB-VNU and two UBB delegates will be visiting N S Raghavan Center for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) at the Indian Institute of Management (IIMB), in February 2012. They will engage with academic staff and the wider networks involved in training and supporting entrepreneurial women in India. The visit will address curriculum development for the DEW train-the-trainer course, and enable the delegates to learn from NSRCEL's experience.

Overview of the Train-the-Trainer Course

A coherent and pragmatic train-the-trainer program is being established through the collaborative efforts of both The University of Sydney and UEB-VNU staff, and input from key stakeholders. UEB-VNU will deliver the course to female trainers who are already engaged in capacity building with Vietnam's women entrepreneurs, and micro to small-medium enterprise owners. An overview is provided below.

Train-the-Trainer Course Teaching Schedule


Commencement Date of Course

Number of Participants

Course Structure


March 2012

Up to 25

5 classes totaling 30 hours


May 2012

Up to 25

5 classes totaling 30 hours


September 2012

Up to 25

5 classes totaling 30 hours


October 2012

Up to 25

5 classes totaling 30 hours

Number of trainers expected to complete the training program

Funding from AusAID provides scholarships for 100 female trainers to complete the train-the-trainer teaching program.

Local training partners/ organizations

  • Hanoi Business Association
  • 8/3 Career Training Center of The Hai Duong - Vietnam Women Union
  • Central Women's School - Vietnam Women Union

Future Developments

In 2011 the DEW Program's network of participants expanded, and new initiatives emerged. Below is an overview of our intended activities for 2012 and beyond.

Case studies for teaching and research

Over the next year case studies capturing female entrepreneurs in micro and small to medium enterprise will be collected, providing a cross section of activity in the ASEAN region. These case studies will form teaching materials for the train-the-trainer program, and be published as a book for broader stakeholder access. Preparing the case studies will also act as a research training exercise for early career researchers in the ASEAN region. The University of Sydney faculty and students will be working with IIMB India, UEB-VNU Vietnam, UBB Cambodia, and other regional academic institutions to develop sound research methodologies and build local research capacity.

First Student Cohort

In March 2012, the first cohort of female trainers will enroll and complete the train-the-trainer course delivered by UEB-VNU. There will be a review and refinement of the course, involving input from The University of Sydney, UEB-VNU, the Advisory Council, and the students before the second cohort in May 2012.


Continual evaluation and monitoring of the DEW Program will occur on both a macro program level (networks, promotion, partnerships with training organisations, administration, course structure) and micro course level (quality of teaching curriculum, materials, and assessments). This will require collaborative input from UEB-VNU, The University of Sydney, the Advisory Council, the local training partners, and alumni students.

Beyond the DEW Program

The activities, materials and skills being developed under the AusAID funded DEW Program need support from wider teaching, research and outreach initiatives to be sustainable. Viable teaching initiatives include student and faculty exchanges across the region, and entrepreneurial units of study at both a masters and undergraduate level. Joint research projects, annual regional workshops, and multiple PhD students would foster research expertise in entrepreneurship. To enrich the teaching and research activities, UEB-VNU also intends to develop outreach activities both faculty and student led, including business competitions, and incubators.

The vision is for a long term partnership between UEB-VNU and The University of Sydney as part of a wider regional network. Entrepreneurship Development Network Asia (EDNA) has been established to encourage collaboration amongst its members to develop best practice in entrepreneurial training, and share lessons learnt with the wider community.