Furniture makers and producers of other wood products in the country stand to benefit handsomely from Italian expertise in several areas including design, product innovation and marketing under the ongoing Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Cluster Development Project.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (Hawa) would finalise the list of 30 firms in the sector next month, an official said on Nov.20.
The 3 million EUR project, funded by the Italian Government, is being executed by the UNIDO in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Investment's Enterprise Development Agency.
"The project aims to enhance the competitiveness of Vietnamese firms through extensive technical assistance programmes, addressing their main weaknesses, including capacity in design and marketing and product innovation," said Francesco Russo, its chief technical advisor.
"It also seeks to promote business partnerships between Vietnamese and Italian enterprises and associations", he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the seminar titled "Design Culture, Lifestyle or Simply Italian Style" held in HCM City, To Hoai Nam, the national project manager, said the SME cluster model has proven successful in Italy and the project managers now want to apply it here to help Vietnam's wood manufacturers improve their capacities in designing, advertising and marketing.
This will help raise their competitiveness in the global market, Nam said. The first step of the project has been completed with three industries – leather and footwear, garment and textile, and wood processing and furniture – selected as the project beneficiaries.
For the wood processing industry, UNIDO is cooperating with Hawa to select enterprises in HCM City and Binh Duong to support them in raising their professional capacities, according to Nam.
The second phase of the project focuses on technical support programmes for SMEs with many activities, including seminars and training workshops, offering opportunities for local firms to learn new aspects of design, quality maintenance, marketing, and other know-how from their Italian counterparts.
At the Nov. 20 seminar which was organised within the framework of the Vietnam Funiture and Home Furnishing Fair, Italian experts shared their insights on design culture with local enterprises.
With most local wood product makers doing outsourced work for foreign companies, they earned little profit and have not been able to develop their own designing capacity, Nam said.