The Ministry of Planning and Investment and the World Bank (WB) on March 7 launched Vietnam Innovation Day (VID 2011) with the theme, “Innovation for Social Equity and Sustainable Development”.

The event’s objective is to seek out and support innovative proposals that exhibit remarkable potential impacts for the country’s development and promise concrete outcomes that may become foundations for future expansion. It is also an opportunity to bring to life innovative ideas that address local development challenges.

With three sub-themes, efficient energy, traditional herbal medicine, and agriculture-based products and services, VID 2011 is seeking innovations that will replace high cost products, lower production costs, and help the poor and under-served communities improve their access to more affordable products and services.

VID 2011 is also calling on proposals from Vietnamese agencies and organisations, including micro, small and medium size enterprises and social entrepreneurs. Each project will receive a maximum of 30,000 USD in support and be implemented within a year.

Addressing the launch ceremony, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Trung spoke highly of the programme, saying he hoped that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would continue to make important steps to develop the country’s economy.

Victoria Kwakwa, WB director in Vietnam , said the annual programme was launched in 2003 with good initial outcomes./.