Promoting Innovative Startups

9:45:09 AM | 28/8/2020

Vietnam concluded 28 startup deals with over US$184 million as of May 2020. This figure was relatively positive in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has produced negative impacts on global businesses.

After more than four years of implementation, the National Innovative Startup Ecosystem Support Project (Project 844) has worked together with more than 100 organizations to support innovative startups and carry out the Project in 53 provinces and cities nationwide.

Mr. Pham Hong Quat, Director of the National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Development (NATEC), member of the Executive Board of Project 844, said, the above results partly come from the relatively strong development of the Vietnamese innovative startup ecosystem in recent years. Nationally, Vietnam has 57 business incubators (BI) and 25 business accelerators (BA) for innovative startups, 3-4 times that of 2016.

However, according to an analysis from TechinAsia, an international news website, the ability to attract venture capital of Vietnamese startups in the early stage (Seed, Pre-A, Series AD) lags behind that of Indonesian counterparts. Therefore, in the new phase, Project 844 will promote cooperation with capable bodies to boost incubators and accelerators for innovative startups to increase the number of visionary and competitive businesses in the region, as well as improve the source of innovative startups that can be developed in the later stages.

Accordingly, the list of 13 regular annual tasks under Project 844, implemented from 2021, was recently announced by the Ministry of Science and Technology under Decision 2148/QD-BKHCN, focusing on search for capable, experienced and visionary companies that wish to cooperate with the Ministry of Science and Technology to develop a national innovative startup ecosystem.

Over the past years, Project 844 has received more than 200 applications from organizations engaged in the task of selecting 59 leading units and 56 coordinating units with enough capacity and experience to carry out 94 tasks of the Project nationwide.

Project stakeholders are relatively diverse, including universities, research institutes, and organizations/businesses/corporations/associations that provide training and coaching for innovative entrepreneurs, trainers, mentors, investors and managers; provide services for innovative startups; launch communications for innovative startups, startup business incubators and accelerators.

Joining units receive financial support to carry out the Project, connect domestic and foreign innovative startup experts, and contribute to the innovative startup ecosystem in many aspects. Innovative startup supporters can take part in Project 844 tasks in 2021 in five main categories: Training and capacity building for innovative startups; communications on startup activity, startup support, startup investment and scale-up of successful startups in Vietnam; and interconnection of Vietnam's startup networks, startup support and venture capital investment with the region and the world, linkage of and support for innovative startups to participate in short-term focused training courses at prestigious overseas business accelerators.

Other contents include organizing innovative startup events for industries, localities, political - social - professional organizations, research institutions and training institutions to grow innovations; and support for business incubators and accelerators, and working equipment sharing.

According to the Office of Project 844, by the end of 2019, through innovative startup intermediaries selected to perform the task and through national and regional innovative startup techfests, Project 844 supported nearly 2,000 innovative startup projects and 500 innovative startup companies, of which 52 have called for VND900 billion of investment capital.

By Quynh Anh, Vietnam Business Forum