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17/09/2017 - 09:01

“A need to inspire the startup spirit in the youth"

"We pay attention to the quality and outcomes of the startup projects, which do not just follow the movement and do what other people do," Ms. Tran Thi Thuy Yen, Deputy Director of the Department of Science and Technology, the unit assigned to advise the implementation of the plan to support the innovative startup ecosystem in the period of 2017-2020. Ms. Yen has had a talk with the Thua Thien Hue Newspaper.

Ms. Tran Thi Thuy Yen

The startup movement of Hue seems to be quite quiet and in comparison with some other provinces and cities, especially big cities, can we hardly catch up them?

In comparison with big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, we are not equal to them in some respects. However, in comparison with other provinces and cities, Hue stands at the top of the vibrant provinces, the cities and has gone according to plan. At present, the Provincial People's Committee has issued the plan to support the innovative startup ecosystem in the period of  2017-2020 with an orientation to 2025. The second innovative startup competition is being quickly deployed. Another advantage is that Hue has a private nursery operated by Consultancy and Resonance Investment Joint Stock Company (CoPlus), which is maintaining good performanceand they have enough capacity and expertise to assist the province in implementing some contents related to startups.

You have just mentioned the second innovative startup competition, how has the  preparation been and when will it be organized?

We drafted the plan and regulations of the competition to submit to the Provincial People's Committee for consideration and decision. According to the draft, this year's competition is organized by the Provincial People's Committee, and the Department of Science and Technology is the standing unit. If it is approved, the competition will be expected to receive applications from this September and give awards at the end of this year.

What is the difference between the two competitions (last year and this year)?

This year, the plan and regulations of the competition are issued by the Provincial People's Committee. Accordingly, the organizer and other related issues are decided by the Provincial People's Committee. The Department of Science and Technology is the standing unit in cooperation with Hue Industrial College and CoPlus.

Does it mean that this year's awards will be bigger and more?

According to the draft and the regulations of the competition submitted to the Provincial People's Committee, this year's prize structure consists of 3 prizes: 1 first prize, 1 second prize and 1 third prize. In addition to prize money, CoPlus has pledged us to support the incubator package, with a value equivalent to VND 12 million/prize. The Development Investment and Credit Guarantee Fund for small and medium-sized enterprises also accompanies us and provides funds to award the 3 prizes; besides, they will consider supporting the loans for some ideas winning the prizes.

The Science and Technology Development Fund may also consider providing or lending at preferential interest rates if the ideas and projects meet the required standards and conditions. At the same time, we will prioritize recommendation of the winning ideas and projects when investors come to Hue to explore investment opportunities.

What is new in the content of the competition this year?

This year, the competition focuses on groups of individuals or individuals with startup projects and startup enterprises capable of growing rapidly, based on the exploitation of intellectual property, technology, new business models (prioritizing startup ideas, projects with specific products). Of course, startup enterprises must have been operating for no more than five years, which means that the focus is on new startup enterprises at small-scale level, for them to have supports to promote their development.

What have the province and the organizer done to attract the projects and ideas to the competition?

We have worked with universities, colleges in the area to motivate the students to participate in the competition, or search and form startup ideas​​. At present, some universities and colleges have organized a number of specialized contests to find out good ideas that can participate in the innovative startup competition organized by the province.

Is it possible that this year there will be more ideas and projects than last year?

This is unpredictable. However, at the provincial scale and careful preparation along with the participation of universities, colleges and related agencies, it is hoped that the competition will be the intellectual playground for young people and startup enterprises.
Nevertheless, our desire is not only to create a movement, but also to direct startups to the essence, startups to develop and enrich ourselves, our families and society.

So, has the startup movement in the area achieved the results as you stated?

Our innovative startup movement has achieved some results, but not as expected.

I realize that we are lacking in the spirit of startups, real careers and desires to become entrepreneurs. Therefore, it is necessary to inspire the startup spirit, passion for creative innovation in young people, especially undergraduate students. In addition, the government should also issue mechanisms and policies to support enterprises, authors and groups of authors who have the ideas by investing resources, supporting loans, finding and introducing output products for enterprises.

Beside this, enterprises and young people need to be more proactive in approaching policies, turn the policies into the tools supporting their startups and business activities. This is also essential for the effective startup movement. What a pity that we are still weak at this point!

How to overcome the limitations you have mentioned?

Today, the majority of students in the area are more dynamic and courageous than before. However, in comparison with other provinces and cities, Hue students are still shy and lack confidence; they are afraid to express themselves. To encourage students and groups of students to develop their ideas and projects; families, universities, colleges, organizations and enterprises need to support, motivate and inspire the spirit of innovative startups.

Thank you for the conversation.

By Tam Hue

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