Student startup innovation for older persons and people with disability in the COVID-19

June 23, 2021 | 13:58
Students from some 2,000 vocational education and training institutions across Vietnam are inspired to showcase their startup innovation and projects through a robust application of science and technology in the provision of goods and services to support and care for older persons and people with disabilities amid the global health crisis and the new normal context.
Student start-up innovation for older persons and people with disability in the COVID-19
The Startup Kite 2021 is structured into three rounds, with the final round to be held in November 2021

The competition Startup Kite 2021: Startups Innovation in Industry 4.0 for Older People and People with Disability was launched in Hanoi today by the Directorate of Vocational Education and Training under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which was funded by the government of Japan.

All students at any vocational education and training institution in Vietnam are eligible to enter the competition either as individual candidates or as a team of up to five members.

Since 2020, Startup Kite is a national Startup Competition which has been organised by the MoLISA under the National Master Plan Supporting Student Entrepreneurship until 2025, aiming at inspiring students of vocational education and training institutions to develop their creativity and dynamic mindset, and facilitate greater private sector involvement for the care of older persons within the framework of public-private partnerships.

Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Le Tan Dung said at the launching ceremony, “Startup KITE is a playground for students from technical and vocational education and training institutions. I call on the students with their devotion to their future career to explore solutions and applications of science and technology in solving social issues. I also encourage enterprises and investors across the country to continue support vocational education and training to provid highly-qualified human resources for the national innovative development.”

So far Vietnam has made a lot of efforts in containing the pandemic. However, the impacts of the gloabl health crisis have critically affected the livelihood and health of the Vietnamese people and particularly vulnerable populations, including older people and those with disabilities.

It is expected that the competition will constitute initial steps in the digital transformation to ensure dedicated and uninterrupted care and social security for older people and those with disabilities to protect them from the pandemic in the new normal.

Student start-up innovation for older persons and people with disability in the COVID-19
Over the past few years, UNFPA Vietnam focused its attention and support on the vulnerable populations, including older persons, particularly women.

UNFPA in partnership with the MoLISA organises the competition Startup Kite 2021 as part of UNFPA’s implementation of the project “Mitigating COVID-19 Impacts on Vulnerable Populations - Ensuring National Progress to Achieve SDGs in Vietnam”, which is financed by the government of Japan.

Minister Okabe from the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam said, "As the Vietnamese government has set out, digital transformation can be a driving force to change the society, which includes the betterment of the life of elderly people and those with disabilities. Therefore, I believe that this event gives a nice opportunity for the young and elderly generation to collaborate in a lot of aspects."

UNFPA Vietnam representative Naomi Kitahara said that like for pregnant women, healthcare services have often been interrupted for old people, posing particular challenges for those with disabilities. Social distancing could also mean isolation of the elderly, making it more difficult to obtain essential information, goods, and services.

The Startup Kite 2021 is structured into three rounds, with the final round held in November 2021. A training course for candidates who are selected to the final round and other interested students and teams will be organised prior to the final round to equip the students with essential knowledge about startups, the development of a business plan, and other necessary skills to call for investment.

The training will be organised offline (for about 50 students) and online (open to interested students from any vocational education and training institution) by the Department of Student Affairs of the Directorate of Vocational Education and Training with technical support from UNFPA, college lecturers, and entrepreneurs and trainers, as well as shared experience from last year’s winners.

By Thai An

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