Vietnam Business Challenge Fund

Information about the fund, which is designed to support the private sector in Vietnam to develop innovative inclusive business models.

This guidance was withdrawn on

The fund has now closed


The Vietnam Business Challenge Fund (VBCF) is a specialised fund designed to support the private sector in Vietnam to develop innovative inclusive business models that deliver both commercial benefits for the company and social impact for the low-income population. Developmental benefits include creating jobs, increasing incomes and improving access to basic goods and services.

The fund will operate from September 2012 until December 2015.

VBCF mandate

The mandate of the fund is to:

  • promote inclusion and innovation in agriculture, low-carbon growth and infrastructure and basic services
  • overcome business risks and reduce transaction costs associated with including low-income people in the value chain of companies
  • remove barriers and improve the operation of value chains to facilitate inclusion of low-income people in the core business of participating companies
  • create incentives for companies to offer access to goods and services that include low-income people in their value chain
  • promote a better business climate for the private sector in Vietnam, to reduce poverty through innovative market-based and commercial mechanisms

Eligibility criteria

VBCF grantees must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for assessment:

  • the business proposes to work with poor people in Vietnam either as suppliers and/or consumers for mutual benefits of both the business and the poor people
  • investment proposals should be relevant to any of the 3 sectors of application (agriculture, low-carbon growth, infrastructure and basic services), and the subsectors and themes available for application
  • the business has at least 2 years proven experience in a sector relevant to the proposed project, counting from the date of submission of the inclusive business executive summary
  • the applicant business is able to finance at least 51% of the project budget
  • the applicant business has 1 of the following legal status i) private and limited liability companies registered and operating in Vietnam ii) joint stock companies registered and operating in Vietnam iii) cooperatives registered and operating in Vietnam

The process

The VBCF proposal application process follows the 2-stage process.

The first stage is the submission of a concept note that will set out the idea not only in terms of its commercial viability but also on its potential development impact.

This will be assessed by a small team of assessors and the fund manager, who will shortlist the best applications and then by the VBCF’s independent appraisal panel.

At the 2nd stage, shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal, detailing their business plan and respond to all questions set out in the application form. This will be reviewed by the independent appraisal panel. Successful applicants will be invited to contract negotiations with VBCF and awarded the grant.

DFID contact:

Further information is available on the website:

Updates to this page

Published 25 March 2013

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