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Vietnam Today

Seeking stronger links

Released at: 08:40, 03/12/2017 APEC Viet Nam 2017

Seeking stronger links

Photo: Viet Tuan

Owners of Vietnamese startups share their expectations with VET over the APEC CEO Summit 2017 further connecting them with global markets.

by Ngoc Lan

Mr. Ngo Trung Dung, CEO of BankGo► The APEC CEO Summit 2017 is expected to discuss global economic issues and difficulties facing enterprises in the region, which I think are worthy macro-oriented and concrete activities that will support startups in Vietnam in general as well as BankGo, which are all small in scale and financial resources and are limited in business development experience. This is also an opportunity to solidify support in the business environment and capital sources to support the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), especially startups. We expect to have more information on the startup forum soon and have the opportunity to take part, which would help BankGo and other Vietnamese startups approach large partners and investors from other countries. Startups such as BankGo are looking forward to the APEC meetings, especially the APEC 2017 Startup Forum, which will be attended by global startup networks, investment funds and investors, the private sector, and business support agencies, all of which can help Vietnamese’s enterprises increase the level of interest among foreign investors in Vietnamese startups.

Mr. Vu The Tuan, CEO, iCheck► This is the first time APEC has held a forum for startups, which means that APEC members have an interest in the global trend. I think this is an optimistic sign for startups in Vietnam because it brings many opportunities to meet and approach foreign enterprises as well as foreign investors. Only a small number of startups, however, have full information on the APEC CEO Summit 2017 and the APEC Startup Forum. This is a barrier for them in approaching and researching international groups. In my opinion, information is one of the most important matters for enterprises, especially startups, to exchange and gain experience. It is therefore necessary to have official websites that provide exact information for Vietnamese startups and that support the completion of business procedures. I think it is difficult for foreign investors to seek startups in Vietnam because of unclear tax and investment structures. Many investors want to come to Vietnam and invest, but they want the startups to register their headquarters in other countries.

Mr. Do Hoai Nam, CEO & Founder of UP Co-Working Space► The APEC CEO Summit is a major opportunity for leaders of large businesses and also for Vietnam to display its development. We have never had a problem with showing others the potential of a market with more than 90 million people, but we have never shown them how willing the market is. For startups, the willingness factor is not as important as the potential factor. It is therefore logical that we should promote Vietnam’s image and its startups during the APEC CEO Summit. The strength of Vietnam startups is the level of rapid technology adoption, low-cost human resources, and the potential of the market. Weaknesses include entrepreneurship. APEC is a good opportunity for the government to facilitate local startups, as it is an international competitive opportunity. I hope the government will conduct activities to promote the image of Vietnam’s startups among the large businesses and investors. This is a great opportunity to show the superiority of Vietnam’s startups to the region, thereby significantly increasing foreign investment in this sector. Vietnam often promotes its big companies but our businesses are still small compared with large enterprises in the region, and we often don’t have contact with them. Promoting startups will show that Vietnam has caught up with the world.

Ms. Anh Pham, CEO, ADT Creative► One of the problems for startups in Vietnam is poor connections to global as well as regional markets. Since startups are still focusing on meeting local demand, not many aim beyond borders. The APEC CEO Summit 2017 is a good chance for young businesses to stay abreast of their regional counterparts and open up connections, to exchange and develop visions and capacities. APEC brings both opportunities and challenges for young Vietnamese businesses. To be honest, we are not looking for financial investment from foreign funds. We already have products ready. Our current focus is how to self-finance and develop based on these products, with an ambition of reaching out to international markets. However, we do expect “investment” in terms of experience, systems, connections, and opportunities at the regional level. This “investment” is more or less a shared need of every startup, to enhance their ability to deliver products outside of the domestic market and approach other opportunities.

Mr. Tran Manh Cong, CEO of Caramo► This is a great opportunity for Vietnamese startups to access the experience of large enterprises within APEC on human resources management, capital management, and investment. It also provides opportunities for startups in Vietnam to cooperate with giant enterprises and investment funds from dynamic APEC economies such as the US, Australia, Japan, South Korea, China, and Singapore. The government should build the necessary mechanisms and support the startup ecosystem. It should also finalize and optimize procedures for receiving foreign investment and attracting foreign investors. Activities within APEC should be fully prepared, in order to influence and attract foreign investors to participate.

Mr. Le Quoc Minh,  CMO & Co-Founder, Btaskee► The APEC CEO Summit 2017 is a great opportunity to meet and learn from individuals who have succeeded in creating and scaling their business in Vietnam. The biggest struggle in doing business in Vietnam is that the economy and business landscape are always changing rapidly, and the best way to learn how to adapt is from those who have been doing it for many years. Another barrier for some Vietnamese businesses is the difficulty in connecting with foreign partners or investors. Many countries around the world are looking towards Vietnam as one of the next economic leaders in Southeast Asia, but at the same time many local businesses struggle to get connected with foreign partners. The APEC CEO Summit 2017 is a great way to not only meet foreign partners and investors but to also learn about ways to connect Vietnamese businesses with the world, through imports and exports or expansion.

Mr. Nguyen Hoang Hai, CEO, Canavi► The APEC CEO Summit 2017 will expand opportunities for businesses, corporations, investment funds, and investors from APEC economies, allowing them to better understand Vietnam’s startup community and share their experience and tools. Because of a lack of information sources, however, many startups don’t know a great deal about the APEC startup workshop, so the opportunity to access exchanges is limited. Another difficulty for startups in Vietnam is that they have to compete with strong competitors from other countries. We also recognize, however, that the opportunity for Vietnamese businesses, especially startups with young leaders, is to improve their individual as well as collective capabilities. In addition, through the framework of APEC activities, we expect more investors to transfer capital to Vietnam and if Canavi is a good startup there will be many good investors and partners hoping to join us.

Mr. Le Dang Khoa, Founder of 38 Degree Flower, 38 Flower Market&Teahouse, Le Real► The APEC CEO Summit will open up a tremendous opportunity for all Vietnamese businesses in general, including startups and especially young startups. Startups are a strong trend in Vietnam in all fields, due to the potential presented by its population being 60 per cent young people. Young Vietnamese are quite dynamic and up-to-date on world trends in all fields. As we know, the world is “flat”, so any domestic business can target the “common” market, which is the global market. This is also a huge challenge, however, because we must also allow other countries to develop their products or services in Vietnam. The first challenge is greater competition in the domestic market. Startups need to upgrade their products and services to match global standards.

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