With a rich history spanning ten millennia, Laos has become one of the hottest tourist/cultural destinations to emerge in the last decade. In parallel, a fledgling startup ecosystem has emerged in its capital city—initially consisting of local artisan etailers, but has grown to include a variety of digital offerings.
From ecotourism operators to online job portals, the following are 7 startups from Vientiane you need to know about in 2017 and beyond.
The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) operates a museum and boutique, as well as an online shop for authentic, traditional, high-quality crafts from rural ethnic communities in Laos. Customers can order direct from the online shop to get attractive, hand-made goods delivered directly to their doorsteps.
Saoban—or “villager” in Lao—aims to improve the livelihood of local women through the creation and selling of handcrafted products. The social enterprise has receive international recognition/attention for their contributions to the local community.
Caruso Lao is an online retailer of products designed and crafted in Laos—from silks handwoven by local weavers to wood products handcrafted by indigenous master carvers/turners. Products can also be viewed at its showroom in Vientiane.
Eco-tourism is tourism geared towards supporting conservation efforts and respecting local cultures. Green Discovery is one of the leading eco-tourism providers in the region, providing environmentally and socially responsible experiences ranging from mountain climbing to cycling and kayaking.
Passa Paa is a design and print boutique studio specializing in the development of innovative, Hmong-inspired textiles that bring a modern flair to traditional local fashion. The company’s designs have been featured by prominent organizations such as The British Museum in London and The De Young Museum in San Francisco.
Ma Ta Sai is a social enterprise specializing in beautiful gifts, textiles, and homewares handcrafted by artisans from rural across Laos. The firm aims to preserve Laos’ cultural heritage while developing skills and offering employment options for youth and young professionals in remote areas.
108JOB is Laos’ premiere website for all things employment-related; job seekers can search vacancies by description while hiring managers can easily post a job within a matter of minutes. The offering is currently the country’s leading online resources for finding a job and hiring employees.
In short, be sure to keep these 7 leading startup ventures from Laos on your radar as they strive to make positive local changes and expand into broader regional markets.