VCCI envisions an ASEAN startup network
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry feels a network of businesses, especially startups, will catalyze regional growth.
VCCI chairman Vu Tien Loc told VnExpress that the forging of links between local and international entrepreneurs was a highlight of the Vietnam Business Summit (VBS) held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF) in Hanoi from September 11 to 13.
What were the salient features of WEF on ASEAN 2018?
This is the second time Vietnam was hosting a WEF event. I think it was one of the most successful economic forums in the region. It attracted a lot of leading businesses, international organizations and the media. The sessions were professionally organized and the content was of good quality.
In this edition of the WEF, we promoted entrepreneurship and the fourth industrial revolution. These are new motivations for the world’s economy. Today, a cheap workforce or abundant resources are not the key factors for development. Entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity are most important. All successful businesses are based on these factors.
WEF on ASEAN 2018 spreads this spirit to ASEAN economies, including Vietnam.
This is the first time a business summit was hosted alongside the WEF. What is the significance of this?
Hosting the WEF was an opportunity for Vietnam to discuss global economic topics, catch up with latest trends in the economy, technology and management to identify development strategies and business models.
But Vietnam also needs to meet, interact and discuss specific business opportunities with global partners. Local businesses need to listen to suggestions from global partners on how to develop Vietnam’s economy.
The VBS allowed us to achieve those goals. First, local businesses were able to listen to suggestions for strategies to develop the country. Second, the event connected international entrepreneurs to local businesses and government bodies to promote trade and investment.
How would you evaluate the VBS?
The VBS was organized very professionally. It focused on locating Vietnam in the global value chain and finding solutions for the country to grow in it.
Vietnam is not an island. It must grow in a relationship with the world by participating even deeper in the global value chain. The sessions at the summit made these points clear.
What are the opportunities for Vietnam’s small and medium businesses to develop in the current period?
E-commerce and digital technology are assisting SMEs. With only a smartphone or a laptop, an SME nowadays can connect with global partners, access markets and perform business transactions.
The power of an SME does not depend on its scale but its ability to meet international standards and apply technology. This is a great opportunity for them. In a digital economy, the world is shrinking and SMEs are growing. SMEs are always the backbone of every economy.
I hope that Vietnam can implement good policies to upgrade SMEs, giving them the ability to compete in the international market. It will take a long time for Vietnam to have businesses on the same scale as top global firms, but it only takes a short time to help SMEs meet global standards. In the modern world, high standards will always have more advantages than size.
What polices does VCCI espouse in terms of supporting businesses to grow in the fourth industrial revolution?
The Vietnamese government has deployed many methods to develop the ecosystem in order to apply digital technology in the country. Multiple policies have been issued, but there needs to be more resourceful responses from the society.
VCCI, business associations and social organizations need to join hands with the government and the business community in helping SMEs.
VCCI has the SMEs Support Center, the Institute of Information Technology for Business and the Startup Nation Program to support these businesses. We are carrying out several research projects and establishing programs to support SMEs. Our goal is to raise awareness and provide SMEs with the foundation to digitalize.
We are also active in the network of businesses and international organizations. Top global firms like Google, Facebook and Microsoft have recently closely cooperated with VCCI. We are a reliable destination for businesses to approach and apply 4.0 technology and digitalization.
Many ASEAN leaders shared their business ideas at the WEF. Which one do you think was the most important?
I was impressed with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s idea on digitally connecting ASEAN countries. I think this is the foundation for other connections in the region and the world. This was also mentioned multiple times at the VBS.
My hope is that VCCI will establish an ASEAN network of startups to develop digital connections, promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the region, thus coming together to build a vibrant and innovative ASEAN economy.
How can we establish this ASEAN network of startups?
We already have the global network of startups, in which VCCI is Vietnam’s representative. Establishing a network of startups that can connect regional nations is very much possible.
Google, Facebook and Microsoft highly appreciate this idea and are willing to cooperate with us in the future.
By: Nguyen Nguyen/VnExpress
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