Vietnam inspired by Silicon Valley success: Minister

Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan told Lao Dong Cuoi tuan (Labour Weekend) about a new project to attract investment for technology ventures following the Silicon Valley model.
Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan told Lao Dong Cuoi tuan (Labour Weekend) about a new project to attract investment for technology ventures following the Silicon Valley model.

* How is the Silicon Valley model different from the previous national programme to develop high technology?

The two programmes have similar goals. The national programme on high technology development aimed to create products similar to those made in Silicon Valley, which is recognised worldwide as a place for technological innovation.

We all know that technology today comes from Silicon Valley. We would not have mobile information or the internet without the research of Microsoft, Apple and Google. The Silicon Valley model cannot be combined with other models and Vietnamese experts applying it must be excellent.

* What should enterprises do to participate in Silicon Valley Vietnam?

Currently the Government cannot invest in a venture investment fund due to legal regulations, especially the State Budget Law.

The science and technology ministry called on enterprises, organisations and individuals to contribute capital to a venture investment fund following the Silicon Valley model.

The ministry encourages scientists and entrepreneurs to propose ideas and join in the project. However, there are a few compulsory criteria for participants.

They must have a scientific spirit, determination to create innovative technology and willingness to sacrifice. Only one out of 10 projects in Silicon Valley is successful.

However, one successful project is huge for both investors and scientists and helps Silicon Valley continue to develop.

* Will the project help reduce the "brain-drain" situation?

To address this problem, we need to improve conditions for scientists. They need a good working environment; moreover, they need to understand that innovative research can be financially rewarding.

We hope that the science and technology law and accompanying new policies will create such conditions.

Many powerful countries like Japan, Russia, India and even the United States have faced the problem of "brain-drain", as scientists tend to go places that offer them the best working conditions.

Conversely, this also means we can attract them back to their homeland if we provide good working conditions and stir up their patriotism, passion and responsibility to their country.

* How can Vietnam attract scientists to its Silicon Valley given the current facilities offered for research?

Vietnam has become a middle-income country and the Government and society's investment in science and technology is still modest.

The country also lacks powerful research units equipped with modern facilities that can attract scientists.

However, even the original Silicon Valley had modest conditions when it was established.

The problem is how to get enterprises and scientists interested in Silicon Valley Vietnam. Can we promulgate mechanisms for establishing a venture investment fund to support scientific research? Spending from the State Budget must follow strict legal regulations.

Moreover, it would be difficult for scientists to do research given the strict spending limits imposed by the Government. A venture investment fund funded mainly by enterprises and private organisations would be more simple and convenient. It could pay for all research expenses provided that the final product was handed over to investors.

Thus, we want to establish a pilot venture investment fund not connected with the State budget fund for investing in scientists' ideas. The investors will share risks – as well as successes – with researchers.-VNA

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