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Supporting innovative start-ups for sustainable development

Update: November, 30/2020 - 08:00


Participants at the high-level policy dialogue on connecting resources to support innovation on Saturday in the framework of TechFest Viet Nam from 27-29 November 2020. VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuấn

HÀ NỘI — Together with advantages of a golden population, abundant human resources and huge potential to grow, applying scientific and technological achievements would help Việt Nam catch up with the world, said Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Trần Văn Tùng.

In his opening remarks at the High-level policy dialogue on connecting resources to support innovation on Saturday, in the framework of TechFest Viet Nam from 27-29 November 2020, Tùng said that Việt Nam’s ecosytem for innovation had entered a new stage that requires further connections to make use of resources effectively.

“In order to have a close connection, the human factor is essential and indispensable,” Tùng said.

He said the Ministry of Science and Technology continued connecting Việt Nam’s start-ups with the US’ Silicon Valley, expecting that Vietnamese start-ups could gain international experience and build an innovative ecosystem which could create breakthroughs to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Start-ups in Silicon Valley usually heard that one would not succeed if they had not failed before, and that people could learn from failures, Tùng said, encouraging start-ups to “Go ahead! You may fail but don’t be afraid of failing.”

As the fourth industrial revolution was thriving, it was a must for Việt Nam to promote and speed up its innovation ecosystem so that innovative start-ups could connect and work with major groups as well as organisations, Tùng emphasised. 

The forum brought together young entrepreneurs and start-up ecosystem supporters – policymakers, development partners, investors, bankers and researchers – to discuss how to support innovative start-ups and help them overcome challenges. 

Deputy Minister Tùng reiterated the Government’s commitment to continuing to promote the development of the domestic start-up ecosystem, at the same time, attracting the participation of start-ups, investors, and the best experts in the world. 

There are now more than 1,400 organisations capable of supporting start-ups in Việt Nam, including 196 co-working spaces, 69 business incubators and 28 business promotion organisations.

The number of venture capital funds that consider Việt Nam a target market or have operations in Việt Nam is 108. These numbers have continuously increased over the past years, demonstrating the active participation of the ecosystem. 

UNDP Resident Representative Caitlin Wiesen in her keynote speech at the forum said that to transform into a start-up nation required an “entrepreneurial state” – one that promotes innovative and experimental approaches to policymaking, is ready to invest in Research and Development and innovation, provide resources and streamlined processes to support entrepreneurs and investors to grow and leave no one behind.

Swedish Ambassador Ann Måwe said: “Skype, Spotify, iZettle, Mojang and King, all started their journey as start-ups in Sweden a few years back, with a mind-set to go global. All of them have become unicorns.

"Sweden has unlocked the potential of the whole population and has the highest female and maternal employment rates in Europe," Måwe said.

Vice President of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Hoàng Quang Phóng affirmed that start-ups and creative start-ups are the main engines for the country's sustainable economic development.

“Starting a business and a creative start-up is not only a requirement for establishing new businesses, but also a renewal requirement for all existing businesses. Especially, creative start-ups are an imperative of the digital era,” he said. 

Panel discussions focused on issues including the network of Vietnamese Intellectuals supporting innovative start-ups, the role of technology corporations in the start-up ecosystem, supporting resources from the perspective of innovative start-ups; and how to promote domestic and international cooperation in supporting innovative start-ups. 

In parallel with the high-level forum, a national dialogue took place on solutions to help start-ups recover and adapt to COVID-19.

Participants shared policies that support start-ups during the pandemic, investors' perspectives on effective business and how they can provide additional support for start-ups, as well as made recommendations for policymakers. 

Techfest Vietnam 2020 is the largest annual virtual event organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology to work with international partners to develop and promote science, technology, and innovation.

Taking place amid global disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the event is part of an emerging nation eager to display the dynamism of its start-up ecosystem among investors/investment funds, enterprises, and experts worldwide via virtual events. 

Themed 'Respond - Transform - Breakthrough', the event is structured into 12 technology villages: Medical Technology, Agricultural Technology, Educational Technology, Tourism and F&B Technology, Frontier Technology, Financial Technology, Smart Cities, Social Impact, Student Start-ups, Local Start-ups, Community and International village, with 250 potential start-up booths, attracting nearly 200 investors, 150 corporations, enterprises and business accelerators virtually and physically. — VNS


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