The startup ecosystem in Vietnam has accomplished numerous impressive feats in recent years and continues to expand at a rapid pace. Vietnam is ranked third among the three most dynamic and innovative startup ecosystems in Southeast Asia by international organisations, including two Singapore-based venture capital funds (Cento Ventures and ESP Capital), with over 3000 innovative startups.

As stated by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company in the report “Southeast Asia Digital Economy-Roar of the 20s: Southeast Asia Digital Decade”, investment inflows into Vietnam’s startups’ creative industries increased sharply in the first half of 2021, reaching a record high of approximately 1.37 billion USD, concentrated in the fields of e-commerce, finance, health, and education.

However, compared to the rest of the globe, Vietnam’s ecology is still in its infancy. In line with Startup Genome’s four-stage evaluation scale of an ecosystem – Activation, Globalization, Attraction, and Integration – Vietnam has most likely just progressed from phase one to phase two. Mr. Tran Tri DungSwiss Entrepreneurship Program Manager (Swiss EP) and Standing Vice Chairman of the National Innovation Startup Advisory Council (VSMA), stated, “In the previous stage, we primarily built awareness for individuals to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship. However, Vietnam is quickly approaching the point where it requires additional international linkages.”

In an interview with Development Science, Mr. Tran Tri Dung also underlined and emphasized two critical things that Vietnam needs to undertake in the approaching era:

  • Increasing international cooperation, particularly resource exchange (start-ups) with the rest of the world. There are currently startup exchange programs with Korea, Singapore, the United States, and other countries in order to bring Vietnamese enterprises abroad and attract businesses from other countries into Vietnam.
  • Implement effective policies to better support entrepreneurs. This involves a shift in policymakers’ and enforcers’ thinking.

Building a national creative startup ecosystem with the goal of increasing innovation, openness, and connection will provide numerous benefits while also acting as a driving force for economic development. On the word of Mr. Pham Dung Nam, Director of the National Center for Creative Startup Support (NSSC), who highlighted and stressed in the study “A Panorama of Open Innovation in Vietnam,” three keywords that the entire ecosystem needs to remember now are “innovation,” “openness,” and “cooperation.”

The first is “creative innovation,” which is defined as creating new products and services, improving existing products and services, and the enhancement of processes, production, and business lines. Furthermore, there are improvements in people, thinking innovation, and business model innovation. Only innovation can create new values, new ways of doing things, new efficiencies, and quick access to the current 4.0 revolution’s development pace.

The second is “open” in operating model design, production, and business, “open” in collaboration, and “open” in problem-solving and thinking. Are closed, self-sufficient models still appropriate in this context? The direction we will “open” in the near future will be to take advantage of available resources and resources for mutual development.

“Collaborative links” is the third keyword. Mr. Nam emphasised that the ecosystem can only develop when people connect with one another, form value chains and link chains, and create value for one another. Specifically, ecosystem components should work together, associate, and use science and technology to develop new development methods and tools and new ways of thinking about development. 

Conversely, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy and entrepreneurial ecosystem are confronted with enormous hurdles. Suppose we want to make Vietnam into an appealing innovation centre and an “incubator” of local and foreign start-ups. In that case, we must continue to foster the development of Vietnam’s innovative start-up network. Consequently, understanding this critical vision, the International Data Group in Vietnam (IDG Vietnam) collaborates with the Vietnam Securities Business Association and the Vietnam Digital Media Association to organise the Financial Services and Open Banking Forum 2022. The focus of this event was “Developing a Digital Finance Ecosystem in Vietnam: Flexible Adaptation, Growth, and Breakthrough,” with many experts and leaders of significant companies discussing and sharing their experiences.

On May 26th, IDG Vietnam invites you to attend the Financial Services and Open Banking Forum 2022 to better understand the experience, innovation orientation, and development of financial products and services on digital platforms and promote open, creative start-ups towards a comprehensive digital financial ecosystem.