US Government Promotes Silk Entrepreneurship in Lao PDR

XIENGKHOUANG, HOUAPHANH: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, provided training on natural dyeing and digital marketing for women-owned businesses from May 28-June 15, 2018 in Xieng Khouang and Houaphanh provinces. More than 50 women entrepreneurs participated in the 3-week training courses, where they learned how to improve product quality and increase sales in both domestic and international markets.

“Building the skills of these women entrepreneurs will help generate more income for their households, build wealth in their communities, and contribute to inclusive economic growth across Lao PDR,” said Alexandria Huerta, USAID Laos Country Office Director.

Mrs. Kingsadone Phetdaoheuang, Deputy Director of the Permanent Secretary’s Office in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, encouraged participants to take this opportunity to not just learn new skills themselves but also find ways to enrich the local markets in their own communities. “In order to make this training effective, we would like to ask you all to take this opportunity to learn from the trainers and bring back skills and share with your friends at home,” she said in her opening remarks.

One participant, Ms. Phaengsy Sorboualaphanh, from Phaxay district in Xiengkhouang, was excited to learn how to use social media to sell traditional Lao skirts (sinh) to a wider market. “I just created my first Facebook online store. I didn’t know that social media could be this useful,” said Ms. Phaengsy. Learning to use social media as a marketing tool was one of the primary aims of this course – a lesson not lost on this seamstress. She plans to use Facebook to sell her silk wares throughout Laos. “One day I will sell my sinhs all around the world.”

Led by a professional trainer who is an expert on natural dyes, the course provided women entrepreneurs with practical skills and techniques that they can use at home. For example, participants learned how to use simple materials found near their homes – such as onion skins, wild almond, and indigo – and process them to make dye.

This course was funded by the United States government through the USAID LUNA II project in partnership with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The USAID LUNA II project helps the Lao PDR further integrate into the global economy by supporting officials to develop and implement sound, modern, transparent and inclusive economic policies and regulations.