A view of the symposium, which is part of the the 24th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM) in HCM City (Source: VNA)
HCM City, (VNA) – The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Government of Canada co-organised a symposium in Ho Chi Minh City on September 11 to promote innovative and dynamic startups and micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region.

The symposium is the pre-event activity of the APEC 2017 Startup Forum – which is scheduled to take place in the City on September 12 – as part of the 24th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM).

A number of questions were deliberated at the event such as how investment in start-ups can accelerate growth for MSMEs, what MSMEs need to be successful, what financing works for them, and how government policies are working or stifling their growth.

Other issues raised during the discussions were what investors are looking for in start-ups and what they need to expand their investments in the APEC region.

Director of the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada Vilupti Lok Barrineau said there are ample start-up opportunities in Vietnam.

She said she found very interesting to see many young Vietnamese people with a lot of energy and excitement to start their own business and take control over their lives.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with the startups around the country, and what excited me the most is the openness of Vietnamese people to learn from other countries within the APEC structure,” she added.

"We are very excited to be a strong supporter for the growth of start-ups in Vietnam,” she said, noting that Canada is looking forward to growing its relationship with Vietnam through small-and medium-sized entrepreneurs.

Adrian Tan, Program Director of the Vietnam Innovative Startup Accelerator (VIISA), said “Vietnam has been attracting many tech businesses due to availability of technical talent. Many startups in Southeast Asia have set up development teams in Vietnam.”

He added that “Investors are attracted to Vietnam due to the growing population and middle class.”

Phillip Dowler, who works with staff members across the Hanoi City campus to foster the development of RMIT Vietnam, hailed that with young population Vietnam has a lot of potential to develop the start-up environment, especially in the field of hi-tech agriculture.

Established in 1989, APEC comprises 21 economies, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taiwan, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam.

Vietnam joined APEC in 1998. SMEs employ more than 50 percent of the workforce and contribute over 40 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the country.-VNA