|Workers at RK Marble Company in Yen Bai Province's Luc Yen District hoist products made from limestone. Vietnamese companies need to improve their competitveness in order to compete with other players from ASEAN countries. — VNA/VNS Photo The Duyet
HCM CITY (VNS) — As innovation is the key driver in business success, Vietnamese enterprises need to focus on enhancing their competitiveness, Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan said at the International Innovation Business Forum held in HCM City on Tuesday.
Many Vietnamese firms have achieved great success thanks to their constant efforts in innovation, he said.
"I'm very worried, however, because the ASEAN Economic Community will take effect by the end of this year and upcoming free trade agreements will be in place soon. Many businesses have yet to feel or acknowledge the pressure that will occur," he said.
Time is running out for Vietnamese businesses to consolidate their position in the market, he said, adding that it would be difficult to survive under competitive pressures from foreign firms if they did not reform.
More than 300 delegates, including Vietnamese and international officials, experts, researchers and businesses took part in the forum.
Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel's Ambassador in Viet Nam, described how Israel, a small country with few natural resources, produced more start-up companies and more engineers per capita than anywhere else in the world.
The country also ranks first in the world for innovation capacity and first in per capita venture capital investment, she said.
Israel spends more money on research and development (R&D) than any other country, allocating about 4.38 per cent of its GDP to R&D, she added.
Israel's eco-system is a fertile ground for innovation and for business to grow, with connections between the Government, academia and private sector being an important factor.
Camilla Mellander, Sweden's Ambassador in Viet Nam, said innovation, a strong focus on international trade and opening up to foreign investment, had turned Sweden from a poor country about 100 years ago to one of the world's richest countries.
In addition, its Government has a clear strategy and sufficient funding for R&D.
"We invest a lot in education and teach our children English at an early age," she said, adding that the country also encourages free thinking in an open environment.
Oren Simanian, founder of StarTAU, Tel Aviv University, said each country has its own advantages, and Viet Nam needs to understand what its advantages are and capitalise on them to build a start-up ecosystem.
People are willing to fail in Israel and then reinvest, he said, adding that the lessons learnt from failures help start-ups have more success in the future.
The forum was organised by the Business Association of High-Quality Vietnamese Goods, the Business Studies and Assistance Centre and the Leading Business Club, in collaboration with the Viet Nam National University - HCM City and the Ministry of Science and Technology. — VNS