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30/04/2020 - 08:12

Startup and the challenge of COVID-19

“Many Hue startups are carrying out their effort to support community, and coordinating their activities to overcome the difficulty caused by COVID-19 pandemic,” Head of the Hue startup Club Nguyen Van Thanh Binh informed.

Hoa Sen educational Farm cannot operate because of the impact of COVID-19

Holding up

By the end of 2019, the startup community in Hue was extremely enthusiastic. For the first time, Thua Thien Hue held a section for calling direct investment Capital – Pitching in the framework of the Creativity and Innovation Workshop for Business towards Sustainable Development on November 24, with the participation of 12/30 excellent startup projects coming for raising capital. Many projects were successful in raising capital from “angel investors”, as well as received the support of organizations and corporations promising the “bright future” for startups.

What is happening with COVID-19 has made the start of the startup “painting” in 2020 no longer pink. Together with tourism, education is one of the industries being effected the most by the pandemic. CEO of Hoa Sen Education Farm, Mr. Van Cong Hung admitted that because there was no participants, the farm could not keep on operating; and he still did not know when the farm could re-open because of the widespread of the pandemic.

Training online to adapt to the pandemic season

Previously, Hung and his colleagues built an educational model aiming at practicing life skills through picnic activities and outdoor activities, which attracted the participation of various students and their parents.

“According to the investment, the farm model was built for the aim of education, so now, when I want to shift it to farming and breeding, it needs much time and large financial investment. Over VND 400 million of bank loan 3 year ago has not yet been repaid so it is arduous to re-invest,” said Hung.

To find a solution for survive during this pandemic season, CEO Van Cong Hung called for investment in fruit trees on his farm. With a plan to reap a 10 -15 year harvest, the farm will take responsibility in planting and tending the trees; and the investors will buy trees and receive the products annually until the harvest time ends. However, this is just a temporary solution.

Making online teaching videos on concoctions at Coffeeholic

Hung said that as the prolongation of the pandemic, the company might still hold up for this year. Hopefully after that, the pandemic will pass and the company will start to operate again. But if its impacts continue to 2021, he might have to “let it go”.

Director of Lion Brand and Uniform Company Limited Nguyễn Văn Thanh Bình expressed that the company’s business segment sponges on the company business. Previously, the company built a business plan for each quarter, each year but COVID-19 has destroyed everything.

Business moved to online retail. Coping plan has implemented: taking advantage of “hibernation”, the company has time to train human resources, completing system, ensuring security and redirecting to short-term products…

“In the short term, the company still pays 50% of basic salary for employees; maintaining the stable human resources and other benefits. Thankfully, our staffs still sympathize with the business owner,” shared Thanh Binh.

The CEO of Lion said that the expenditure problem to maintain the company and to pay employees' salaries in this period would be lower than the spending on recruitment and new training if they are fired.

Changing to survive

According to President of Provincial Young Entrepreneurs Association Tran Duc Minh, COVID-19 is a test for start-up business to understand the health and the reaction level of their businesses to the crisis. Hence, startups can clearly understand their strength, weakness, and challenge, as well as opportunity, somehow choose a better market, and find the right track in tough period.

Director of Coffeeholic Company Nguyen Thi Nhu Mai said: “I am making online teaching videos on concoctions. Participants are coffee shop owners. They already have available facilities and materials to study and practice. All of the practice steps are implemented online by both of us and participants can also choose appropriate topics.

With that method, participants can save money as well as have time to concentrate on practicing. The owners can easily renew the menus, change service style to attract customers when their shops come back to operation.

Taking technology as a foundation, Mai also sold the new products that she directly made and tested. From cold brew coffee, bottled coffee, dried ginger jam, corn sweet soup to marinated chicken wings; meat flour, pure fish and shrimp for weaning are all ready to bring to the market.

Mai said that the long staying at home leaded to the significant rise on the need of online shopping. By increasing the capacities, reducing costs, the company's products are still enthusiastically ordered by customers.

Ata Global CEO Vo Ha Nhi feels so blessed because when she started her business, she did not dare to borrow money from the bank, so that, she has no pressure on paying interest at the present.

"Even though there had a decrease in the number of customers, at 30%, however, Ata still sold their accounting software to businesses. At the same time, that many businesses reduced accountant unit contributes to the increase of using accountant service of Ata,” Ha Nhi expressed.

To support customers, Ha Nhi also reduced 20 to 30% of service fee for businesses that have signed the contracts but they are currently in tough time; discounted 50% service fee of April for organizations to support the state budget...

Chairman of Hue Start-up Club Nguyen Van Thanh Binh informed that many startups are putting their effort to support the community and connect to each other to overcome the obstacles of COVID-19 pandemic. Such as some food businesses are cooperating with communication startups to build online shopping website and record videos to promote products. Agricultural businesses are seeking the output for farmers' products on the technology platforms basis.

“The Club also seeks to connect startups, being a bridge for businesses to cooperate, using the same resources, and consuming products for each other; or other businesses working on training will support start-up community to enhance skills for business by online training,” Chairman of Hue Start-up Club informed.

Story and photo by Lien Minh

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