Vietnam’s startup ecosystem accelerates growth

14:08 | 18/02/2018 Science - Technology

(VEN) - Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Van Tung talked about investment in and support for startups in an interview with Vietnam Economic News’ Quynh Nga.

vietnams startup ecosystem accelerates growth
Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Van Tung

Ministries, departments and localities have adopted practical policies to support Vietnam’s growing startup ecosystem. Does Vietnam need a leader or a certain model to spread startup spirit?

The government has assigned the Ministry of Science and Technology to be the lead on startup activities. The Ministry of Science and Technology has promoted cooperation with other ministries, departments, agencies and localities to implement startup activities, meaning that this surge has not occurred spontaneously.

In the process of starting a business, it is necessary to have knowledge and skills developed in startup incubators. In the Vietnam Silicon Valley (VSV) project powered by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnam has conducted training based on startup models from developed countries such as the US, Israel and Finland. To promote startups, Vietnamese young people should be creative and dare to take risks and not be afraid of failure, learning from experience to fuel future success.

The Vietnamese government has launched Project 844 on supporting a national innovative startup ecosystem. What has the Ministry of Science and Technology done to promote connectivity within the ecosystem?

To implement Project 844, the Ministry of Science and Technology established a steering committee, with the participation of ministries, departments, localities and associations. Members have implemented innovative startup activities in their sectors.

One of the important contents of Project 844 is to set up a national startup portal. The portal is designed to link policy-making agencies, ministries, localities, startup incubators, investors and startup businesses. It will provide full information on the results of scientific and technological research, technologies transferred to Vietnam, and tens of thousands of domestic and foreign inventions. In addition, it will include state policy, procedures to establish startup businesses, and a list of experts and consultants. This portal is very useful, helping promote connectivity in the national innovative startup ecosystem.

vietnams startup ecosystem accelerates growth
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam (middle) at the Techfest 2017

What is the biggest weakness of startup businesses in Vietnam?

Startup skills are considered the biggest weakness. To overcome this weakness, Project 844 focuses on training to improve skills.

A successful startup business must bring its products to the market. In addition, mobilizing capital from investors is very important. If startups cannot draw capital, they will not have enough resources to grow. In fact, we have seen some investors who are willing to spend tens of millions of US dollar on complete startup ideas, which they see dominating the market in the future.

Behind the success of startups is the presence of venture capital funds. Could you tell us more about the establishment of venture capital funds in Vietnam?

The startup community is now interested in forming venture capital funds. Therefore, the Ministry of Science and Technology has worked with units to propose the establishment of venture capital funds in Article 18 of the Law on Support for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises.

The National Assembly passage of the Law on Support for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises has boosted innovative startup activities. The Ministry of Planning and Investment is now drafting a decree defining the legal status of startup businesses and investment funds that are currently not regulated by Vietnamese law. With transparent and clear policies, Vietnam will be able to attract more resources from foreign investors.

The national innovative startup ecosystem has developed extensively. Vietnam currently has more than 3,000 startups, 40 venture capital funds, 30 business incubators and 10 business accelerators.

Quynh Nga