TechFest to unlock potential of startups

December 05, 2019 | 09:00
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TechFest 2019 was held on December 4 in Quang Ninh, drawing in all stakeholder groups to discuss resources, manpower, technology, and finance to support Vietnamese startup and connect to the world.
techfest to unlock potential of startups
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam speaking at the opening ceremony of TechFest

TechFest is the biggest annual event for the startup community, organised in accordance with the scheme on supporting the national innovative startup ecosystem to 2025, which was approved by the prime minister in 2016. During the past four years, the annual TechFest events have covered numerous economic sectors, uncovering opportunities and unclogging bottlenecks.

Themed “Vietnam: Globalise”, TechFest 2019 aimed to attract resources, manpower, technology, and finance to support Vietnamese startups and to become a platform connecting the Vietnamese startup ecosystem with that of the world.

Techfest 2019 has drawn the participation of over 300 businesses and startups, 100 ventures and investors, as well as 200 speakers and experts to attend until November 6, with activities such as a startup exhibition, technology showcase, investor and startup matching, and startup contests.

Full of praise for Vietnamese startups, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said that the success of Vietnamese startups not only contributes to national economic development but also fills authorities at all levels and the whole society with spirit.

“If everyone gets ready to come up with new ideas and work together to turn them into practice, success will definitely come to us,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

He highlighted the need to connect in the era of Industry 4.0 to bridge the gap between Vietnam and the world.

techfest to unlock potential of startups

According to Chu Ngoc Anh, Minister of Science and Technology, the Vietnamese startup ecosystem has been supported by a bolstering legal framework.

In the first 10 months of this year, there were 29 business investments into startups and related projects attracting a total of more than $750 million, with the biggest deal worth up to $300 million in fintech, the biggest such transaction in Southeast Asia.

The startup spirit has spread like wildfire across the nation. The Vietnamese startup eco-system has grown to include 38 incubators and more than 170 co-working spaces nationwide, while 52 out of 63 provinces and cities have made plans and mobilised resources to support startups. There are 61 innovative startup funds nationwide, the minister said.

techfest to unlock potential of startups
A lot of products and applications were showcased at TechFest 2019

Venture capital investment in Vietnamese startups surged by eight times between 2015 and 2018, said Thach Le Anh, Vietnam Silicon Valley Accelerator’s founder at the Eco-system Summit 2019 held at TechFest on the opening day.

“The investment in Vietnamese startups, which ranks third in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia and Singapore, has improved in both quality and the number of deals. This is an immense source of pride for Vietnam and also an opportunity for localities across the country to develop the local startup eco-system,” she said.

According to her, Vietnamese startups specialise in not only one sector but in various fields, with the number of startups increasing from 400 in 2012 to 3,000 in 2018.

However, the definition of angel investors seems to be rather new to the public in Vietnam. Angel investors who make “silent contributions to the startup community” might be entrepreneurs, working or retired policymakers who consult startups and invest to help startups access markets. In Vietnam, there is no specific policy to encourage angel investors or any agency in charge of certifying angel investors, she said.

“There should be a law on venture capital including regulations related to angel investors,” she said.

To unlock the full potential of Vietnamese startups, Anh highlighted the need for a network of angel investors as well as startup and venture capital investment centres.

Techfest 2019 is supported by VinTech City, a subsidiary of Vingroup, providing a comprehensive assistance for an innovative startup ecosystem of Vietnam, following the model of the US' Silicon Valley. VinTech City focuses on three pillars: human resources, technical products, and supportive ecosystem.

Additionally, Vietcombank, VietinBank, FLC Group, Suntravel Transport, and Communication Trade Union JSC provided important sponsorship to ensure the success of the event.

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