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Vietnam has seen huge growth in startups in recent years, with 3,000 registered startups in 2017. Despite this growth, the local startup ecosystem is lagging behind other leaders in the region, in terms of a coordinated national approach, such as in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.
If only we could tap into the ambition, creativity and commitment of this new generation of young Vietnamese entrepreneurs to help find solutions to the biggest challenges the country faces?
This is the challenge the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Citi Foundation and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) have taken up as co-leads to deliver Youth Co:Lab Vietnam 2018.
Following the launch in Hanoi on June 15, the Youth Co:Lab Diagnostic workshop was reorganised in Ho Chi Minh City, at Saigon Innovation Hub on June 22, to bring all major players in the impact startup ecosystem together and plot a course to foster the growth of the sector and connect startups to the business of achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
|Citi Foundation supports local innovation and startups|
Akiko Fujii, UNDP Vietnam deputy country director said in her opening remarks: “UNDP will open up applications for SDG Innovations Incubator and selected teams will receive an intensive business incubation and impact acceleration programme as well as the opportunities to pitch their ideas to national and international investors.”
“It is essential that we use events like today to bring all the players together in the ecosystem, and this is an important role for the Department of Science and Technology in Ho Chi Minh City,” said Nguyen Khac Thanh, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technology.
Citi Vietnam’s head of Public Affairs Bui Quang Huy shared Citi Foundation’s commitment to youth, “Entrepreneurship aspirations don’t just come to life on their own. Young people said they need a few things, including the right skills for the right jobs, the right policies in place, and they would like mentoring and guidance along the way. Which is why the Citi Foundation has committed to invest $100 million to support 500,000 youths to become career-ready and employable by 2020.”
Citi is mobilising 10,000 of our employees as volunteer mentors and coaches to provide professional advice to help the youth move towards their career goals. Citi calls this Pathways to Progress initiative and Youth Co:Lab is part of this global initiative to foster an ecosystem that will enable social and economic pathways for young people to succeed in the cities.
The diagnostic events in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will bring together experts from the private sector, Government, NGOs, investment firms, social entrepreneurs, startup incubators, and guests from Thailand and Malaysia to develop a set of recommendations for all sectors to help build a social impact startups in Vietnam to address some of the biggest challenges the country faces.
The programme also includes a series of exciting activities to train and mentor Vietnamese youth. Up to 130 young people from across Vietnam will be trained in design thinking, 21st century skills, social innovation, and SDG entrepreneurship, in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City later this month.
The Youth Co:Lab programme strongly focuses on ‘leaving no one behind’. One third of participants are youth from rural and mountainous areas and the communities of persons with disabilities, deaf and hard of hearing people, LGBTI people, ethnic minority and persons living with HIV.