8 March 2016 | On Feb 29, 2016, Mekong Business Initiatives (MBI-ADB), in collaboration with Vietnam-Finland Innovation Partnership Program (IPP2), SECO Entrepreneurship Program and Tigers@Mekong, organizes the 2nd Innovation Partners Meeting between donor funded programs and private sector ecosystem builders – including Unicef Innovation Lab, Topica, FPT Ventures, HCMC DoST, VIIP, FIRST, Embassy of Israel, Embassy of Netherlands, and VTV6. Discussions about current circumstance of the ecosystem point out five gaps as follows.
1. Entrepreneurial training and education
Despite a number of available curriculums on entrepreneurship the gap is a lack of supply of skill set and opportunity for practicing innovation and entrepreneurship. It is necessary to introduce entrepreneurship to not only early-stage startup founder but even as earlier as high school and first year students. There should be more opportunity for internship in the ecosystem.
Entrepreneurship training is related to cultural issues. That is changing mindset. Therefore, both donors and program implementers should be very patient with coming results.
2. Lack of mentors
Currently, many are willing to share experience and knowledge with startups. But most, if not all, are short-term mentoring. There is a lack of voluntary, long-term mentoring.
The meeting agrees that business champions are great source of long-term mentors. There is a need for designing mentoring programs that help connect quality startups to the champions.
3. Lack of incubator and accelerator
There are several incubation and acceleration programs but the quality of them is questioning. Efforts into offering a quality program to startups usually face budget constraint. There is also a need for technical assistance in designing and operating incubators and accelerators.
4. Lack of media promotion on local champions
The Vietnamese ecosystem is very much inspired by the world champions. Assuming that successes and failures of Vietnamese business people are more related and helpful to startups it is expected that the media will promote more local champions.
Indeed, the media is getting active in the ecosystem. However, media people are lack of knowledge and proper understanding of entrepreneurship
5. Low voice of private sector players
The Vietnamese government is improving legal framework to provide innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem with more favorable conditions. It is expected that private sector players will have a higher voice on the economic agenda.
In addition, there is interest in promoting women entrepreneurship.