Speaking at the event, Director of VCCI Can Tho Vo Hung Dung stressed that the Mekong Delta region is oriented to develop into a “startup valley” , inspired by the US model of Silicon Valley, but the region will focus on agricultural production and food processing.
He noted that startup is an urgent need in the Mekong Delta as the region is facing formidable challenges like stagnant economic growth and climate change.
However, startup is not the work of an individual or a single organisation, he said, explaining that it needs a network of suppliers, distributors, partners and state organisations in order to roll out a product or service for customers through both competition and cooperation. This is the real meaning of a startup ecosystem, he said.
The delta had nearly 30,000 corporations in 2016, accounting for just 7.7 percent of the country’s figure. However, the companies operated in small scale and there were only two percent of high-tech businesses in the region.
As a major urban centre in the region, Can Tho city has advantages in infrastructure for technology development, and thus it should become a locomotive of innovative startup.
A representative from Vinh Long province suggested that Can Tho city needs to coordinate and give specific startup orientation to prevent overlapping ideas, adding that ideas on organic farming and coffee plantation are flourishing but they are only pale imitations and lack creativity.
Director of Can Tho city’s Department of Trade and Industry Nguyen Minh Toai said startup businesses often meet difficulty in accessing capital, recommending that the government should help with connecting startups and commercial banks.
Reforms in administrative procedures and business laws and upgrade of research institutes were among recommendations to facilitate startups in the delta.
According to Vice Director of VCCI Can Tho Nguyen Phuong Lam, the chamber set up a startup support programme for 2016-2020 with vision to 2030 called “Mekong Startup” with the goal of 1,000 new enterprises in technology and management by 2020.