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Home / Updates /International Women’s Day 2022: Empowering Lao PDR’s young women as the future of entrepreneurship

International Women’s Day 2022: Empowering Lao PDR’s young women as the future of entrepreneurship

In Business
Mar 09, 2022

To mark International Women’s Day, the Lao Business Women Association, ILO and National University of Laos hosted a guest speaker and networking event for female students on the power of entrepreneurship, building skills and finding success by following their passion.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the ILO ‘Supporting resilience of Lao MSME in response to COVID-19’ project, with the Lao Business Women Association (LBWA), the SME Service Center and National University of Laos hosted a TEDx style event comprised of Lao women entrepreneurs from different sectors who shared their own stories, experiences and advice on pursuing entrepreneurship and finding success business and ultimately in life.


After the opening remarks by LBWA president, the event kicked off on the topic of ‘How to become a successful business woman’ by Ms. Soutsady Leuxay, President of Leuaxay Group Limited where she shared the challenges of being a woman in the construction business and how passion and the determination got her to where she is today. Ms. Thiphaphone Petmany, Director of Enterprise & Development Consultants Co., Ltd followed with a presentation on ‘Planning for business success’. Ms. Thiphaphone summarized one business strategy success into four simple steps, “Review. Rethink. Renovate. Restart” which resonated with students in the audience.

In a session focused on ‘Struggle and Success’, Ms. Phimngeun Somvichith, Media Facilitator and Team Leader of the Toolkit App, shared self-reflections and personal journey as a team leader for the first Business apps in Laos. She emphasised the importance of resilience, community and lifting each other up so more young female students can be inspired and become business leaders at a young age. “It is important for business owners to look back on your struggles, and also to reflect on how you have overcome them”, she says.

The last speaker, Ms. Vilayphone Choulamany, a freelancer specialized in health sector, was presented on the stage on the topic called “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better”. Ms. Vilayphone explained the importance of knowing your market, analysing your product, knowing your competitors and defining your product’s value before presenting it and selling it to your customers. She also highlighted that successful people and business persons are those who go out of their way and do things that others do not want to do which make them unique, sacred and valuable.


The inspiring talks were followed by a networking event where students could interact with Lao business women  and each other. Following two years of COVID-19 social restrictions, the opportunity to gather in-person, share words of encouragement and affirmations to build a resilient mindset was pivotal in inspiring young women and making connections.


The event was attended by over 50 female students from the National University of Laos and targeted young women who are pursuing their education and are preparing for school-to-work transitions. Providing inspiration and advice during critical time in their lives enables them to seek and embrace new opportunities. The event was also livestreamed on Facebook with over 1.7k views to date, and will be available for future entrepreneurs to re-watch.


One of the participants remarked “I am really happy to be a part of this event because I was able to learn about marketing plans and the concrete steps needed to open my own business one day, as a young woman sometimes it’s hard to find leaders that are like me to look up to”.


This year’s International Women Day theme by the United Nations is ‘gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’ for which Lao celebrated through the localized message of “the road to success is to start early”. The event highlighted the importance of empowering young women in pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams while closing key gender gaps. Youth are not only the future of entrepreneurship but are crucial in ensuring a sustainable world of work.


“Young women in Lao PDR are at the nexus of a challenging global pandemic, persisting gender inequalities and barriers to entering the world of work. The ILO believes that equipping them with the right toolsets and supporting their careers is critical for the future of Lao’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and economic recovery. We must work collaboratively to ensure they are not left behind”, says Anjali Patel, Project Technical Officer for ILO ‘Supporting resilience of Lao MSME in response to COVID-19’ programme.


To continue empowering young people, the ILO ‘Supporting resilience of Lao MSME in response to COVID-19’ project will be organising an Entrepreneurship Day on 31 March 2022 bringing together Lao PDR’s youth for a day celebrating entrepreneurship and community in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and streamed online across provinces.


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