An overview of the workshop (Source: VNA)

Ben Tre (VNA) – A workshop has been held in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre to effectively promote startup activities in the region.

The number of startups has risen in the Mekong Delta region has been flourishing after two years of implementing the Prime Minister’s Resolution 35 on creating a favourable business environment for business startups, said Nguyen Phuong Lam, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Can Tho.

Many regional localities have been working on long-term plans to promote start-ups, he added.

From 2015 to 2017, the Mekong Delta saw a 12 percent increase in new businesses, with Ben Tre and Hau Giang provinces seeing a 32 and 35 percent increase in new firms, respectively. Nine out of 13 provinces in the Mekong Delta reached the targets promised to the government during the period.

However, the Mekong Delta’s entrepreneurial growth is still below the nation’s average of 16 percent.

Lam, who is also Chairman of the Mekong Delta Startup Network, said that start-ups in the region still faced challenges and did not have enough big firms or sources to provide experience, funding and assistance.

In addition, there is lack of customer support as well as connections between businesses and the market.

The Mekong Delta has developed favourable policies, as well as infrastructure and education facilities, but it needs to work on promoting innovation and start-up skills, according to Lam.

Phan Van Mai, standing deputy secretary of Ben Tre province’s Party Committee, said that over the last two years the province has been working to promote a suitable business environment for small start-ups.

Nearly 1,000 new firms were established over the last two years, and a total of 3,920 firms exist in the province.

The province has also provided funding and financial aid for 774 projects, with 802 billion VND (34.5 million USD) worth of funds from sources such as the National Foundation for Science and Technology Development and the Ben Tre Entrepreneurship Investment Fund.

Ben Tre needs to continue to raise awareness of and inspire the spirit of entrepreneurship by providing training for those looking to start their own business and improving the business environment by gathering feedback, Mai said.

The province is also encouraging start-ups to use advanced technology and take advantage of their areas’ specialties to boost competitiveness. 

Cu Van Thanh, Director of the Luong Quoi Coconut Processing Company, said that successful start-ups are passionate about what they do but are practical as well, and do not just follow trends.

The workshop was organised on September 11 by the Ben Tre provincial People’s Committee, VCCI in Can Tho City, Mekong Delta Startup Network and Saigon Times newspaper. – VNA