Youths visit startup models (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – As Vietnam’s economic hub, Ho Chi Minh City boasts advantages to develop startups, with its science-technology resources accounting for 25 percent and the number of operating businesses taking up 50 percent of the country’s, while its labour productivity is 2.5 times higher than the national average.

More than 760 startups are operating in the city, accounting for more than 42 percent of the country’s total. Among those, 49 percent have found sponsors and investors.

According to experts, Vietnam ranks third in the number of startups in Southeast Asia. However, the social impact startup ecosystem lags behind compared to regional countries like Thailand and Malaysia.

To solve this challenge, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Citi Foundation are implementing the “Youth Co: Lab Vietnam 2018” initiative. It aims to seek the next generation of leading social entrepreneurs in Vietnam, following the success of the SDG Challenge in 2017, where four Vietnamese startups received more than 85,000 USD in equity-free seed funding and a year-long business incubation programme.

Vietnamese businesses have paid attention to innovation but only for short-term goals, with few new products developed. This explains why domestic enterprises are yet to set up value chains for sustainable development.

Nguyen Ky Phung, Deputy Director of the HCM City Department of Science and Technology, said startup support organisations still face many difficulties because there is lack of expert networks and professional services for incubation activities.

The city is completing institutions and developing a favourable business and investment environment to build itself into a smart city and a city of innovative startups, he said.

At the same time, it will boost the development of businesses in combination with applying science and technology, developing a startup ecosystem and enhancing cooperation and experience sharing with developed countries in this field, he added.

At the recent event “Connecting Vietnamese Startups At Home and Abroad”, Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan emphasised the need to form a startup ecosystem to boost links between scientists and firms in developing startups.

According to Vice Chairman of the city People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem, HCM City will encourage, step up and form startup spirit and promote the role of startups in development, thus making itself a leading city in the country in startup activities.-VNA