Innovative start-ups are one of the key subjects discussed at group meetings of the Viet Nam Business Summit (VBS) at the APEC Summit in central Da Nang City this week. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) is leading a Government project on supporting a national innovative start-up eco-system. Viet Nam News speaks to Tran Van Tung, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology.
Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Van Tung.
The Ministry of Science and Technology will hold Techfest Viet Nam 2017, a national festival for innovative start-ups. Can you elaborate on this event?
This is the third time MOST has held Techfest. Following the success of Techfest 2016, the ministry will organise Techfest 2017 on November 14 and 15 at the Plaza Hotel in Hanoi. With the theme “Ecosystem Connect”, we expect the event will help stakeholders in national and international start-up ecosystems to connect.
It will also be a platform to link start-up activities so that investment organisations, individuals and start-ups can find each other through investment-matching activities. In particular, this will also be an opportunity for big and medium enterprises which have had successes in the market to find innovative solutions from Vietnamese start-ups.
Techfest 2017 will have a series of important activities, including intensive seminars on innovation, investment matching between investors and start-ups, an innovative technopreneurs contest, start-up product and service exhibition for start-up villages. Further information can be found at www.techfest.vn
As you just mentioned, Techfest 2017 aims to closely connect stakeholders of start-up eco-system. Besides Techfest, what has Việt Nam done to promote a national innovative start-up eco-system?
In 2017, many activities related to innovative start-ups have been implemented nationwide. Firstly, the legal framework has been formulated and enforced. In mid-2017, the National Assembly enforced Law on Support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Law on Technology Transfer with key contents related to registration, establishment, development of and support for innovative start-ups.
Agencies assigned to lead the compilation of instructive decrees have also worked closely with public and private sectors to ensure that documents guiding the implementation of the laws meet practical demands.
This year also marks the engagement of major corporations, such as FPT, Viettel, big banks such as BIDV and VPBank, in mobilising and utilising huge financial resources. At the same time, international organisations in Viet Nam have also supported innovative start-up.
For example, the Mekong Region Business Initiative of the Asian Development Bank has co-operated with organisations to implement the initiative of smart city – Smartcityvn – to attract breakthrough solutions and innovations and address the shortcomings of cities.
In addition, embassies, especially those of nations with developed innovative start-up eco-systems such as Finland, Israel, the United Kingdom and Australia, have shared experiences with Viet Nam, helped connections with experts and built close linkages between domestic and international ecosystems.
With the efforts of many stakeholders, especially with the leading role of the Government, the ecosystem has made outstanding steps forward. Five business transactions which attracted capital in 2016 were worth more than US$50 million.
In 2017, there are more than 40 venture capital funds operating in Viet Nam, double that of 2015. Currently, Viet Nam has 24 business incubators, 10 business accelerators and more than 40 co-working spaces.
Many networks supporting start-ups have been formed such as the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Viet Nam Network and the Viet Nam Mentors Initiative.
With the spirit of start-ups, I am convinced that the national start-up ecosystem has been gradually accomplished.
At the group discussion “Start-up and Innovation” – one of VBS 2017’s key contents, what proposals did MOST make to promote the development of innovative start-up in the eco-system?
At this meeting, Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh delivered a speech titled “Developing a creative and innovative start-up ecosystem towards a dynamic and innovative economy”.
The State plays an important rolein supporting in innovative start-ups, including support on access to finance, improving innovative capacity, assisting in domestic and international market expansion.
It also creates a favourable climate, including tax incentives, easing administrative procedures – and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of investors. It is necessary to be aware of the purpose, mission of “construction” and social responsibility of the State.
To realise this, Government has developed project 844 on Supporting National Innovative Start-up Eco-system towards 2025 and assigned MOST to take the lead.
With high political determination to strongly promote the prosperity of the innovative start-up community in Viet Nam, the project has been built on a perspective in which macro policies should have a comprehensive impact on stakeholders.
One of the project’s objectives is to connect national, regional and global start-up eco-systems. This connection is based on the traditional relationship in economics, trade, science and technology among APEC member economies which serves as a favourable foundation for the formation of an APEC start-up eco-system.
To successfully link the national start-up ecosystem to the region and the world, the Ministry of Science and Technology proposed setting up and operating a digital online platform to connect start-up eco-systems of APEC member economies, and establishing a venture capital fund or a financial supporting programme for innovative start-ups.
The ministry regularly organises accelerated training courses and start-up skill trainings for innovative start-up groups of APEC member economies, offers preferential mechanism, incentives for start-up groups from APEC’s less developed economies and holds connecting events for APEC start-up community. — VNS