“Light the Fire and Keep the Fire” for Entrepreneurship

12:50:47 PM | 5/27/2022

There is a saying that "Fire proves gold, adversity proves men." COVID 19 is like a "testing fire" for businesses, including startups. And now is the time for innovative startups to advance with burning aspirations for experience and dedication of young people to the nation.

These viewpoints are expressed by VCCI President Pham Tan Cong at the High-Level Policy Dialogue for building a local startup ecosystem that recently took place in Quang Ninh province.

Entrepreneurship and innovative startups are the driving force for the country's sustainable economic development. Especially, innovative startups (in a broad sense, including doing old things more creatively) are requirements and opportunities of the digital age. Recently, the concept of "open innovation" has also been mentioned a lot as a sharing economy model of knowledge economy and technology.

With the National Startup Program and support programs for small and medium-sized enterprises, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has been a pioneer in the startup journey in Vietnam since 2002, said VCCI President Cong. Tens of thousands of young people have joined and thousands of startups, innovative startups and entrepreneurs have grown up from this cradle. “VCCI's national startup is not only a place to showcase projects but more importantly, we have established an ecosystem and a startup support network in Vietnam connecting ministries, sectors, incubators and startup promotion organizations, with the core being universities and localities," he added.

VCCI's National Startup Program is promoting the strength of an organization that supports startups and engages the domestic startup community and several international organizations, he added. VCCI has become a member of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN). Since 2019, the Organizing Committee of National Startup Program has been the nominator and organizer of the Global Startup Cup Competition.

Especially, since 2009, VCCI's National Startup Program has coordinated with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to jointly carry out some new content for startups, including a strong focus on developing a set of standards for business integrity for investors and startups, and training integrity startups, social impact startups for trainers, mentors and investors. The program has also brought together top-notch innovative startup experts and advisors in Vietnam to deploy intensive and high-end startups.

According to Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Van Tung, to start a business from their own ideas, entrepreneurs must be provided with related knowledge. And that source of knowledge is the valuable expertise from those who have experienced and achieved success in starting a business. Particularly, capital for startups is extremely important. In some developed countries, most of the funds for startups come from companies and angel investors. The government will create legal corridors and provide seed funding while the rest is raised from angel investors and venture funds.

To build a "startup culture", information and communication is extremely important, he said. The success rate of startups in Vietnam is low but it is necessary to know how to "accept failures" because failure is the mother of success. That mindset needs to be brought into the youth class and into the people who are just starting a business. Indeed, after suffering failures, they learn and draw valuable experiences for the next trials.

In addition, to build a successful startup ecosystem, according to Mr. Tung, localities and related bodies need to have enough knowledge and skills to create a startup ecosystem workable in other countries where they are active. Especially, it is necessary to build a culture of "accepting failure" and starting over startups.

By Anh Mai, Vietnam Business Forum