Income generation through an inclusive business

Sonedalinh Phoumvongsay is one of the five recipients who were recently awarded a grant under a Laos Australia Alumni Innovation Grants scheme that supports Lao Australia Alumni in implementing innovative activities to help Lao communities recover from and respond to the impact of COVID-19.

This friendly and compassionate woman works as a freelance consultant, using her grant to help vulnerable communities generate income through an inclusive business and social enterprise model – i-loco.

The participants of trainings run by Sonedalinh are vulnerable groups, including women and men living with a disability, and some are returned-home migrant laborers, who have lost their livelihoods and income during COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the intensive and hands-on training, the project aims to help participants gain not only product development skills, organic smart farming techniques, and business strategy techniques, but also a basic understanding of marketing from conception to distributions.

“I, myself could not do this alone. This project is the product of strong female connections I developed and learnt from other alumnae during the Women’s Leadership – Executive Development Program (EDP) in 2018, supported by the Australian Government. Such sisterhood stimulated a highly supportive environment for idea emergence and individuals’ growth. More importantly, I met the passionate female representative of people living with disabilities during #OzTalk in 2018. She showed me her strength and passion to support her peers. Hence, I can fully say that this project materialized from the idea and support of the strong women network.” Sonedalinh said.

This alumni story was originally posted on Australia in Laos

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