Laos needs more entrepreneurs, still facing business hurdles

Laos has only two percent  of the population starting  a business which is still  far too low compared to its 6.4  million people, according to  an official.

Head of the Small-Medium  Enterprise Promotion and  Development Office of  Ministry of Industry and  Commerce, Mr Sa Siriphong  made the comment recently  at the launch of Mekong‘s  Next Top Mentors Project  (MNTMP) in Vientiane.

The country should  have 500,000 new start-ups  or entrepreneurs to boost  its economic and social  development by 2020, but  entrepreneurs still face  difficulties in doing business.  According to a World  Bank report from last year,  Laos moved up seven places  in the global rankings on  the ease of doing business  from 155th to 148th position  among 189 economies  surveyed.

However, entrepreneurs  seeking to invest in the country  continue to face significant  challenges compared with  some regional neighbours.  Laos still lags far behind its  Asean neighbours in the ease-of-doing-business rankings  with Malaysia on 18 and  Thailand at 26.  For example, to process  documents to launch a  business, it takes least 74  days in Laos which creates  difficulties for start-up  businesses.

Mr Sa explained the nation  needed more entrepreneurs in  the age of Asean integration,  and the MNTMP was one way to assist budding  business people in Laos.  MNTMP is a cooperative  effort between Toh Lao  Coworking Space, Small-Medium Enterprise Promotion  Department, with support from  the Lao Businesswomen’s  Association.

The project enhances  start-up networks to be single  markets for investors and  allows entrepreneurs to get  more insightful information about regional markets.  It also helps start-ups  to learn how to look for  opportunities while preparing  to do business.

However, Mr Sa said the  government was improving  processes and policies to offer  more convenience, aiming to attract investors and increase  the number of entrepreneurs  in the country.

Source:  Vientiane Times

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