Student start-ups: students encouraged to be entrepreneurs

Colleges are increasingly offering academic courses and policies in entrepreneurship, start-up workshops and summer programs for students to encourage them to start their own companies as per the government’s resolution No. 35 on national start-up.

Vo Duc Minh and Nguyen Anh Kiet win the first prize with Korona Board Game (PHoto: SGGP)

Vo Duc Minh and Nguyen Anh Kiet win the first prize with Korona Board Game (PHoto: SGGP)

The Project to support student to go into starting their own business in the 2017-202 period with orientation to 2025 aims that most of universities and colleges have been doing to help students start businesses including ideas for business projects, employment opportunities, connection with entrepreneurs or fund for risk investment. The project cost VND239.2 billion (US$ 10,269,305).
Many projects, which had won the Startup Idea Contest - CiC 2020 organized by VNU-HCM Innovative Entrepreneurship Center under the Software Technology Park in Ho Chi Minh City, continue to persuade investors at a meeting for fundraising to accelerate projects’ commercialization.
For instance, idea-based Korona Board Game about global disease prevention of two students Vo Duc Minh and Nguyen Anh Kiet from the University of Science and the Can Tho University respectively has been released in the market and brought in revenue for the two students.
At the fundraising session, three investors agreed to pay US$15,000 to develop and upgrade the product with orientation towards for European and American markets. One of investors, Director of Vu Phong Solar Pham Nam Phong said that the game is potential for the local market and it has big chance to enter European and American markets.
Being a winner of a competition in 2018, student Nguyen Danh Thanh from the University of Economics – Law under National University of Ho Chi Minh City later failed in his startup business because he was focusing on sale. At the fundraising meeting, he managed to persuade Director Pham Nam Phong to invest VND 300 million for development after the previous failure.
At the event, his project has had two million views and many enterprises agreed to sign advertisement contract with the project. Danh Thanh shared that he learnt a lot after failure in 2018. This time, he will focus on community development with assistance of enterprises expecting the project will achieve success.
Similarly, many successful projects at the fundraising event have been invested by enterprises that agreed to pour money into startup projects’ commercialization development, such as the GreenTown Vietnam project of a group student of the Fulbright University Vietnam and the project.
Deputy Director of Information Technology Park (ITP) under Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City (VNU-HCM) Le Nhat Quang said that the first fundraising meeting provided opportunities for students and investors to find capital and human resource as well as connected students and investors and their projects will be commercialized.
These steps will become a journey to turn students' ideas of startup into business opportunity, which is the apparent evidence proving the importance of entrepreneurial spirit in the Ho Chi Minh City National University’s strategy.
Former Principal of Nguyen Tat Thanh University Professor Nguyen Manh Hung affirmed schools’ guidance and support is necessary for students’ successful startup. To nurture and promote students' startup activities, schools should establish centers for business innovation and incubation and creative entrepreneurship clubs for supporting startup projects.
Annually, schools usually allocate VND2 billion (US$ 86,379) supporting students’ startup projects. To facilitate start-up activities, the school also launched start-up support centers such as the center for business innovation and incubation and creative entrepreneurship club, Associate Professor - Dr. Nguyen Manh Hung added.
Ho Chi Minh City-based Industrial University spends VND 10 billion for university students’ start-up funds and offers VND 50 to VND500 million as financial aid to help students carry out their startup business. Especially, students can borrow VND 200-VND500 million when their parents act as guarantors .
Moreover, students must pay back the loan within 36 months. However, successful large projects can be enjoy entitlement to loan extension.
The school investment has been fruitful when sudents won one first prize, one second prize, and one third prize of the Euréka Scientific Research Student Award in the field of natural resources - environment, information technology, and pharmaceutical chemistry in 2019.
Lately, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union and the Ministry of Education and Training have signed an agreement to deliver lessons of good lifestyle, ethics, awareness of regulation, and foster students’ scientific creativity and students’ entrepreneurial spirit for the 2020-2021 period.

By Thanh Hung - Translated by Anh Quan

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