Winners of the 2019 Innovation Start-up Project Competition and other contestants in the final round pose with the competition’s organisers and the jury. — VNS Photo
HCM CITY — Beating 29 other start-ups across the country in the final round, Nguyễn Ngọc Hương from HCM City won the first prize of VNĐ50 million (US$2,151) at the 2019 Innovation Start-up Project Competition with her freeze-dried method for producing powder from green leafy vegetables.
Hương began her start-up with making pennywort powder. By using pasteurized freeze-dried technology, her instant vegetable powder still preserves the original flavour and natural color of the vegetable.
In addition, the vegetable powder is ground with a granite stone mortar, making it very soft and easily dissolved in water.
The second prize worth VNĐ30 million ($1,291) each was shared by Trương Lê Huy Hoàng from Đồng Tháp for his project of making high nutrition snacks from pangasius, and Phạm Minh Tiến from HCM City with his project making valuable products from nipa.
Three third prizes worth VNĐ15 million ($645.5) each were awarded to Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Như (Bến Tre) for her coconut lipstick with the case made from wood, Phạm Hồng Sơn (Hưng Yên) with his FAGO 4.0 project to help farmers improve efficiency in their breeding and farming, and Giàng A Dạy (Sơn La) with his project on developing beef breeding farm at Rừng Thông village in Mường Bon Commune.
Four others received consolation prizes for producing Tung Lò Mò (beef sausage), a specialty of Chăm; Thanh An tea; Dalahouse on solutions to supplement fruits and vegetables for families; and Vibabo for environmentally friendly bamboo products.
The winners will be receive loans of up to VNĐ1 billion (for first prize), VNĐ500 million (second prize), VNĐ300 million (third prize) and VNĐ200 million (consolation prize) from the National Employment Fund.
Organised by the Business Study and Assistance Centre in collaboration with the Rural Youth Committee of Central Youth Union, the competition attracted 225 entries from 48 provinces and cities, with 105 entering the semi- final round.
Many activities were organised on the sidelines of the final round this year on November 23-25, including seminars that support start-ups to connect with retail systems, and share experiences on bringing Vietnamese agricultural products to the global market via e-commerce platforms, and training for start-ups in product design, building brands and others.
According to the jury, in the final round this year, many project owners were trained by the Vietnam Agriculture Academy, HCM City University of Agriculture and Forestry, with majors in business administration, information technology, and biotechnology. They are all concerned about improving the value chain of indigenous resources.
Most of the projects know how to use materials from the native resources of their homeland, plus use technology in processing and farming of agricultural products to increase the value of their native resources. — VNS