By Brian Spence *
As I have highlighted several times in this column, Việt Nam now has the second fastest growing economy in the world, after China.
Given its new position in the world, there is a growing confidence and entrepreneurial spirit in the air. Many are realising that investment does not just mean property, cash or the bank but have begun investing in the Vietnamese stock market, private equity and in their own businesses. You could call Việt Nam ‘start up Việt Nam’.
We also see a growing interest in myriad of investment opportunities internationally. This outward investment trend is something I intend to write about later, but for today we are going to take a look at the interest that the global market has in this bustling, innovative and youthful Vietnamese economy and how you can benefit from this.
Interest from the global economy in the Vietnamese growth story is huge, however the perception that Việt Nam has a history of corruption has been a major stumbling block for potential international investors. Before significant inward investment will flood into Việt Nam, and flood it will, if the Vietnamese Government continue their crackdown on corruption.
The global economy has been impressed by the recently mounted ‘a big anti-graft’ campaign. The objective of the extensive campaign was part of its bid to rid the banking sector of corruption, reform the public sector and improve its global image. It went after corrupt officials and took down some of the biggest offenders. This is a bold statement to the world that ‘Việt Nam is open for business.’
S&P have recently invited senior leaders in the international business community to join their Việt Nam mergers and acquisition interest group with a view to inward investment into Việt Nam. There are already over 100 registered international CEO’s and senior figures signed up to explore pre-IPO opportunities in Việt Nam. The formula of experienced international investors and Vietnamese business opportunity is a sure-fire recipe for success.
So how can you take advantage of these new initiatives?
Vietnam Silicon Valley (SVS) is a fantastic Ministry of Science and Technology and Vietnamese Government’s initiative directed at stimulating the growth of technology start-ups in Việt Nam. It was launched in 2013 and seeks to create an ecosystem of innovations and technology commercialisation in Việt Nam – by combining Vietnamese entrepreneurial spirit and innovative nature with the most successful practices that the US and Europe has to offer in start-up development and mentoring, accelerators, and venture capital funding and investing.
Every year, VSV produce a ’Start-up Call’ from which they give investors access to more than 300 early stage start-ups in Việt Nam. From this pool, VSV go through a screening process and shortlist 30 start-ups that they feel have what it takes to succeed. They then invite potential investors to attend an ’Investor interview’ with the 30 start-ups to pick 10-20 teams. The teams will then be invited to participate in the VSV one month pre-boot camp programme. At the end of the month, VSV will make their final decision on which team will receive your investment and enter the VSV boot camp.
If you are a potential investor then it is well worth checking out the VSV website at http://www.siliconvalley.com.vn/. — VNS
* Brian Spence is Managing Partner of S&P Investments. He has over 35 years of experience in the UK financial services industry as an investment manager, financial planner and M&A specialist. He is a regular contributor to the UK financial press and has a deep understanding of the financial services community. Brian’s column will reflect on all the challenges and opportunities within the Vietnamese market, bringing a fresh perspective to today’s hottest issues. The columnist’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.