Conference urges VN start-ups to try ‘new’ things to thrive post-Covid

Friday, Jul 24, 2020 10:43

A discussion at the Grab Ventures Ingnite Bootcamp in HCM City. — VNS Photo

Vietnamese start-ups should try new things to leverage their strengths and strengthen their competitiveness, the Grab Ventures Ignite Bootcamp heard.

At the five-day event being held in HCM City as part of the Grab Ventures Ignite programme for start-ups in the early stages, experts said five years ago a big volume of investment was coming into Southeast Asia, with Indonesia being a big winner.

Now, with a young and eager-to-learn generation, its fast-growing economy and the efficient response by its Government to COVID-19, Viet Nam would become the next attractive destination for investment, they said.

Tran Hai Linh, CEO of Sendo said: “To catch that opportunity, start-ups should step up and try new things. The key ability for start-ups to win is to create a unique point.”

Nguyen Hai Van, managing director of Grab Vietnam, said: “We can see that founders and team members of Vietnamese start-ups are young, around Gen Z, who are energetic and flexible. However, they are inexperienced with respect to the difficulties that previous generations had gone through. Therefore, it is a tough challenge for founders to lead a team through the recent global crisis.

“The talent pool in Viet Nam is young and resilient, increasingly educated, with a growth mentality, and more ready to adopt new tech and innovation.”

Vu Quoc Huy, deputy director of the Viet Nam National Innovation Centre, said the pandemic has affected SMEs and innovative start-ups, but the Government is helping them.

The support includes a 30 per cent reduction in income tax for businesses with revenues of less than VND200 billion, land rental reduction, increase in bank credit limits, and reduction in interest rates.

At the discussion, companies’ representatives shared the lessons on how to overcome difficulties caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

For instance, when COVID-19 strikes, normal execution has to change, Grab has to do double their work to run the business and address issues raised by COVID-19 at the same time.

“We have to follow up with our team, our business partners, the government, and the community as well,” Van said.

According to Van, a large number of safety measures have been applied to keep Grab a safe platform.

Van added that post COVID-19, the company introduced GrabProtect, to tighten safety measures as movement restrictions ease.

“One key learning we drew from the period was how to keep the team motivated and focused. We have to handle normal operations while thinking about the safety of our families and ourselves as well as multiple problems arising. As a company, we need to be really agile and adaptive, by focusing on everyone’s health and not solely the company’s interests. That is the most imperative thing that we learn,” she said.

Linh said: “The first thing we need to be concerned about when going to work is the hygiene factor, which can be done by having soaps, extra cleaning efforts at all the office facilities and masks. Safety was the first thing we tried to ensure.

“Secondly, customers’ safety is taken care of by our attempt to ensure there is no direct contact that could transmit the virus. Finally, business safety is another concern. Interestingly, two categories that grew substantially fast in that period were safety products and groceries.”

Grab Ventures Ignite Bootcamp is a part of the Grab Ventures Ignite programme for start-ups in the early stages to nurture them.

The most outstanding will be selected to join the Grab Ventures Ignite programme. — VNS

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