Information Technology Park ready for Eastside innovative district in HCMC

Since 2013, a group of researchers including Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Anh Thi, Dr. Truong Minh Huy Vu, MBA. Le Nhat Quang; and BS. Le Thi My Nhien from Information Technology Park (ITP) under Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City (VNU-HCM) has established a startup ecosystem as a basis to develop the innovative district project in the Eastern part of the city.

A lecturer at ITP presents active worker class project (Photo: SGGP)
A lecturer at ITP presents active worker class project (Photo: SGGP)

Indispensable role of ITP

The Eastern area of HCMC consists of some notable IT facilities, namely the Vietnam National University with 18 factions and research institutes; the Saigon Hi-tech Park covering an area of about 1,066ha with 13 high-tech corporations and companies; the Financial Services Trade Center with an area of 657ha, and multiple industrial parks and export processing zones. As a result, this section is considered ideal to set up an innovative hub for the city.

Once completed, the innovative district will serve as a center for research and application of science-technology, training human resource, and production and trading of advanced technology goods and services. The city believes this hub would become a major caterer of high-end technologies and financial aid for businesses. ITP is planned to play an indispensable role in this grand scheme.

ITP has successfully developed a technological startup ecosystem since 2013, exceeding expectation and meeting requirements from the Government and HCMC’s programs. Moreover, ITP is the only science park model in Vietnam built in the heart of a university complex, said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Anh Thi.

ITP was established in accordance with Decision No. 157/QD/DHQG/TCCB dated May 2, 2003 of the Director of VNU-HCM in order to create a favorable environment to intertwine research and business in the field of software technology in separate and information technology and communications in general. With that goal in mind, ITP set out to serve 3 main functions: training well-qualified workforce; developing advanced means of technology transfer; and creating software technology products and services.

“ITP is at an advantage by being built within Vietnam National University, HCM, where well-qualified human resources is concentrated, a favorable condition for developing an startup ecosystem which can hardly be found anywhere else, ”said Prof. Dr. Nguyen Anh Thi.

The current model of ITP could easily connect the research institutions of VNU and the Saigon Hi-Tech Park in order to quickly commercialize results of studies and form potential start-up projects, according to Mr. Nguyen Viet Dung , director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technology.

Developing standard operation model

To achieve this goal, ITP has been pursuing the best ICT infrastructure and support services to ensure a favorable environment for businesses, especially start-up businesses to focus on growing their core activities. ITP is on its way to cooperate with prestigious international universities to put together a standard training curriculum for itself.

Following ITP’s kick-off, a total of 57 start-up companies/projects has seen financial support since 2014. ITP has hepled a number of start-up companies gain initial capital and have their products marketed, such as Startup MimosaTek (September 2014) with a valuation of VND 23 billion; Gcall (August 2016) with VND 46 billion; iNutFatform (September 9-2018) with VND 23 billion; VSN Academy (September 2016) with VND 7.5 billion; Shub (September 2016) with 6 billion, just to name a few. At the same time, hundreds of training courses and competitions for young people, founders, and startups were held.

Mr. Huynh Kim Tuoc, managing Director of Saigon Innovation Hub believes that the most special thing about ITP is that it helps build a standard model of innovative activities in the educational environment, aiding research and study in the southern region.

Mr. Huynh Thanh Dat, Director of Ho Chi Minh City National University, said that by 2020, VNU-HCM expects ITP to become a dynamic start-up ecosystem, home to about 100 startups, with 2,000 jobs and internships opportunities for 2,000 students each year.

“ITP was a founding member of QTSC Software Park alongside Quang Trung Software Park Company Limited (QTSC). ITP plays a major part in the QTSC chain as a facilitator for IT companies and breeder of qualified personnel (in the field of governance, research and development). This helps diversify the city's IT development model, contributing to the implementation of HCMC’s e-Government” said Mr. Lam Nguyen Hai Long, QTSC Director.