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