HCMC leader urges agencies to better policies for startups

Politburo menber, Secretary of the HCMC Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan yesterday said that agencies should work together to improve policies and create more advantageous conditions for innovative startups.
Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan, secretary of the HCMC Party Committee, visits Saigon Innovation Hub on September 8 (Photo: SGGP)
Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan, secretary of the HCMC Party Committee, visits Saigon Innovation Hub on September 8 (Photo: SGGP)

Speaking at a meeting with leaders of the Department of Science and Technology and startup community in the city, the politburo member required them to improve policies to prevent startups from leaving Vietnam to other nations with better policies such as Singapore to start their business.

The city should have land fund for innovative startups to continue developing, required Mr. Nhan.

Reporting at the meeting, director of the Department of Science and Technology Nguyen Viet Dung said that besides assisting businesses to apply science and technology in management, production and trading, the agency has sped up implementation of a startup ecosystem with mechanisms encouraging innovative startup operations.

In 2017, the agency has established four executive boards of the ecosystem in four key fields of the city namely information technology, mechanism-automation, food and foodstuff processing, chemical-plastics-rubber.

Through the boards, 938 startup projects have been advised to develop trading ideas; 3,200 individuals and startup teams have been connected with investors, experts and consulting organizations and 300 startup products have been advertised to the community.

After a year of establishment, Saigon Innovation Hub has become a reliable address for the startup community in HCMC. Other centers such as OpenLab, CASE, SHTP Innovation Hub have also been opened to assist innovative startups. Twenty four business incubation establishments have been built over 22,000 square meters with 50 percent of investment capital raising from the society.

Large universities together with local and foreign investment funds have connected with startups and provided them seed capital to start business.

In addition, Speed Up 2017 program has supplied financial aid tools from the city’s budget for 14 out of 22 innovative startup projects through business incubation establishments.

The good thing is that 834 out of 1,800 startups in the country are operating in HCMC, accounting for 42 percent. They have taken the initiative in attending the startup ecosystem.

Low innovative startup indexes

Mr. Nguyen Viet Dung said that indexes in innovative startup in Vietnam are lower than many countries in the Southeast Asian region such as Singapore and Malaysia.

Most of startups in Vietnam are small scale ones, in the seed phase and in the need of incubation support. They have yet to enter the phase of capital appeal with low breakthrough growth possibility. In addition, policies have not really boosted startups.

Sharing the same view, Ms. Truong Ly Hoang Phi, deputy director of Business Startup Support Center, said that policy change has yet to catch up with startup development. Therefore, there should be a place or portal to recieve difficulties of startups and consul city leaders in approving suitable assistance mechanisms.

Mr. Hoang Anh, executive director of a private venture capital fund, said that authorized agencies should change their way of information supply and startup access towards supporting rather than estimating or comparing startups with active businesses.

Mr. Duong Minh Tam, deputy head of the Saigon Hi-Tech Park Management Board, said the city needs to count on post-incubation. In fact, some businesses have completed incubation, developed and needed premise to broaden their factories. However land area in most nurseries is very limited and unable to meet demand.

Meantime, a representative of Topica education complex, said that capital appeal procedures are very time consuming. Therefore, many startups have moved to Singapore to open companies.

Concluding the meeting, Mr. Nhan acclaimed agencies and businesses who have assisted startups. City leaders will acquire opinions and proposals of delegates at the meeting.