Mobilising venture capital for private sector

October 07, 2021 | 17:49
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) have launched the “ADB Ventures supporting impact startups” project today, which is expected to release venture capital for the private sector of Vietnam.
Mobilising more venture capital for the private sector
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Duy Dong called for more venture capital for the private sector

The project worth $1 million will be developed between September 2021 and December 2023 by ADB and the MPI’s National Innovation Centre (NIC). Accordingly, ADB Ventures will provide venture capital for innovative businesses and startups, as well as some skills for doing business.

The project aims to strengthen the ability to approach venture capital of innovative businesses and startups to overcome challenges in the early stage, as well as further investment in technologies, contributing to the positive movement of climate change and gender equality.

ADB country director in Vietnam Andrew Jeffries said that supporting emerging startups in these verticals is vitally important to Vietnam’s balanced and sustainable economic emergence. Vietnam is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In the coming decades, increasing temperatures and rising sea levels will imperil industries, agricultural productivity, and the health and livelihoods of millions.

“Climate change is a particularly acute risk for agricultural and informal sector workers, many of whom are women. Innovative private sector business models will play a powerful role in addressing Vietnam’s climate-related development challenges,” Andrew Jeffries said.

Vietnam will participate in some tools of the project, including two technical-assistance sub-projects (ADB Ventures Lab and ADB Ventures SEED). Of these, ADB Ventures Labs matches impact technology startups with commercial pilot opportunities through our regional corporate and public sector networks, while ADB Ventures Seed program provides small-scale funding valued $200,000 for promising business models that have strong potential to scale their impact on climate and gender.

“Seed programme funding provides a vital runway, while giving ADB Ventures the opportunity to learn about the technology solution before deciding whether or not to consider larger equity or debt investments in future fundraising rounds. I look forward to announcing ADB Ventures transactions in Vietnam in the future,” said Andrew Jeffries, country director of ADB in Vietnam.

Mobilising more venture capital for the private sector
ADB country director in Vietnam Andrew Jeffries addressing the launching ceremony

MPI Deputy Minister Tran Duy Dong said that the cooperation between the NIC and ADB to carry out ADB Ventures is quite necessary and being an important initiative to enhance the collaboration in the time coming to mobilise more resources and resolve the troubles of capital for innovative businesses and startups in Vietnam.

“Although the venture capital is not very big, it will be useful for startups to approach other venture capital in the country and in other country members of the ADB in the form of technical assistance,” emphasised Dong.

Right now, the NIC, in collaboration with the ADB, is looking for and choosing promising businesses in Vietnam that can match all conditions of the project. Thereby, around 20 feasible concepts will be piloted in ADB Ventures Lab and 10 of them will receive aid in ADB Ventures SEED.

ADB formally established ADB Ventures in January 2020 with the vision of building a leading impact technology investment platform in the Asia Pacific. ADB Ventures aims to help to promise early-stage innovators scale-up their impact across developing Asia. It supports and invests in solutions that conserve energy, reduce waste, shrink agriculture’s carbon footprint, and make people, communities, and industries more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Many do not realise that ADB Ventures has roots in Vietnam. From 2015-2020, the ADB, with funding support from the Government Australia and in partnership with the MPI, managed a Hanoi-based regional technical assistance called the Mekong Business Initiative or MBI.

ADB Ventures is just getting started. Over the years to come, the ADB will continue raising new funds from public and private-sector co-financing partners, employing a combination of early- and growth-stage equity and debt financing to support the sustainable development goals. ADB Ventures is expected to become a leading impact technology investment platform in the region, crowding in more than $1 billion of risk capital by 2030.

By Nguyen Huong

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