Checkfront Spotlight: Sapa Sisters on Using Your Business to Create Lasting Social Impact

by Angela Heald

Sapa Sister Gom with her daughter

Sapa-Sister-Gom-with-her-daughter

Our spotlight this month is on Sapa Sisters, a trekking company in Mung Hoa, Vietnam. General Director Ylva Lindberg describes, “Sapa Sisters is a social enterprise, entirely owned and run by women. All guides are from the minority group Black Hmong.” She goes on to explain, “Hmong highlanders face much higher levels of poverty and have many barriers to accessing capital and business connections than other minority groups in Vietnam.” Since 2009, Lindberg and her team of Hmong women have worked hard to build a very successful tourism business, positively benefiting the women employed, the travellers, and the local community.

The beautiful Mung Hoa Valley

Mung-Hoa-Valley

A sombre side to this article is that female residents of Mung Hoa are subject to an ever-growing threat of abduction and being sold on the human trafficking market, which makes the social impact of this company increasingly important. In Lindberg’s words, “we believe that empowering women is the best way to improve the quality of life not only for the women but also for the families and whole communities.” The knowledge that the Hmong women have of their land is an asset, and a business like Sapa Sisters enables them to support themselves and their families just by using the land they grew up exploring. Lindberg states that, “tourism to our area is providing these women with vital opportunities to earn sustainable incomes, helping their families and their communities to prosper.”

For those who want to make a positive impact on the world using their tourism business as a platform, Ylva urges the importance of, “social value come[ing] from within the company, it should be the core of the company itself; not something that is just added as a sales trick.” Good intentions will always shine through, even though it may take a bit more time for your business to gain traction. Of her experience, Lindberg says, “Happy and proud employees are the key to giving the travelers the unique and authentic experience that they are looking for.”

Sapa Sisters 2016

Sapa-Sisters-2016

Sapa Sisters has grown significantly in the past seven years; they now employ nineteen guides during their peak season. Success and expansion are amazing, but can be hard to stay on top of… Which is where we come in. As Lindberg describes, “using Checkfront has helped us keep better track of our calendar and bookings. I also think that using invoices give[s] the customer a trustworthy and professional impression of our business. It’s important for an online business that the customer feels safe when making a purchase.”

Our partnership has also given her company new insights, as Lindberg explains: “[Checkfront] has been a good portal for us to add additional services to our website and we can really see that our costumers like to manage their bookings online instead of contacting us by email. This saves us a lot of time.” It feels great to know that our booking system takes some of the weight off.

Playing even a small role in the daily operations of companies like Sapa Sisters is inspiring, and all of us at Checkfront are excited to follow the progress of these amazing women.

Learn more about Sapa Sisters, and their mission, on their website.

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