Vietnam targets increased competitiveness by innovative start-ups

Tuesday, 2019-10-29 14:16:49
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Start-ups join the 2018 National Innovative Technopreneur Contest finals. (Photo: Ha Noi Moi)
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NDO – The innovative start-up ecosystem in Vietnam has grown strongly and achieved positive results, contributing a vital role in improving the efficiency and competitiveness of the economy.

Start-up spirit and activities to support start-ups have spread to all provinces and cities across the country. In recent years, there have been many start-ups established in Vietnam by young aspiring people, who have new thinking, dare to start-up and not afraid of failure.

Typically, Techfest Vietnam – the biggest annual event for the innovative start-up community in the country – hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), has attracted thousands of attendees in recent years, with hundreds of start-up booths, investors, funds and businesses joining. Through which, there have been many Vietnamese start-ups receive grants or provided with greater market access opportunities. Deputy Minister of MoST, Bui The Duy, said that this is an important factor to be able to develop and bring Vietnam's start-up ecosystem to new heights.

According to a study by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on 60 economies, Vietnam is among the top 20 start-up economies, but its ability to realise the start-up ideas and putting the business models into practice is still limited, ranked in the second half of the list. This shows that the start-up spirit in Vietnam is huge, but there should be more effective support activities and investment for start-ups to turn their ideas into reality.

The MoST’s National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialisation Development said that recently, the Government has issued a range of policies to promote start-ups in various ministries, sectors and localities. Quite a few positive signals have come to this point, as the innovative start-up ecosystem in Vietnam has grown widely with more than 40 venture capital funds, over 30 incubators and more than ten business promoting organisations. Vietnam is a place to attract venture capital funds around the world as it is ranked third in the list of the best countries in the world to invest in.

Tran Huu Duc, Director of FPT Ventures, suggested to promote a legal corridor so that businesses could establish and dissolve smoothly and easily while accelerating administrative procedures. In particular, policies must be more synchronised and open in order to create favourable conditions for start-ups.

According to experts, the development of national innovative start-up ecosystem as well as the growth of start-ups needs to be realised. In order to promote start-up activities, leading to successful, fast-growing and sustainable start-ups, it is necessary to have depth-building orientation which is developed on the basis of the strengths of each region and locale.

In addition, start-ups have also expressed their desire for support to help them connect with businesses and investors to bring their products to the market. Head of the Department of Science and Technology of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province, Mai Thanh Quang, said that supporting product commercialisation is the most important. Start-up groups desperately need assistance from the relevant ministries, sectors and localities and such support should come from the early stage of "incubating" for start-up projects.

Head of the National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialisation Development Pham Hong Quat said that in order to realise a project from an idea to products, then shifting to business model development and replication, it would need a lot of support from many other subjects, such as local authorities, preceded entrepreneurs, business coaches and investors.

Therefore, the central and local support programmes under the Government's National Ecosystem Start-up Support Plan by 2025 (Project 844) play an important role. In particular, local authorities need to show their determination to support start-ups to have access to provinces and cities’ support programmes. Start-up centres need to be set up to attract investors, entrepreneurs and businesses from neighbouring localities to assist local businesses in accessing the larger markets.

In addition, each locality should focus on one focal point to support start-up, so that when start-ups in need of support, they should only go to one venue to meet the experts for support and connection. Currently, Ho Chi Minh City is developing this model and it is expected that in Project 844, a pilot model will soon be formed, which will then be replicated and implemented in the other provinces and cities nationwide, helping to form a national network of start-up support organisations.

Amidst deeper international integration, innovation has become a progressive philosophy of thinking and socio-economic development. Developing towards an economy based on the leading role of creative innovation is a strategic goal of many countries around the world. Vietnam is no exception if it wants to promote and increase the competitiveness of its economy. When there are many innovative start-ups to be born with many new business models capable of rapid growth, Vietnamese start-ups can reach to the world and contribute to boosting the national sustainable economic development.