Ho Chi Minh City

New center for innovative startup activities in HCMC to be built in District 3

The project to build a new Innovative Startup Center in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) was approved in the 15th meeting of the 9th HCMC People’s Council last week.

DoST and scientists, businesses discuss the construction of a new Innovative Startup Center in HCMC. Photo by T.Ba

DoST and scientists, businesses discuss the construction of a new Innovative Startup Center in HCMC. Photo by T.Ba

Accordingly, the construction of this building is supposed to begin in the first half of 2020 at the address of 123 Truong Dinh Street of District 3. With a usable surface area of around 20,000m2 on 6 floors and 4 basement ones, the center will need a total cost of VND323 billion (approx. $13.9 million).

The HCMC Department of Science and Technology (DoST) stated that this center is a model of public-private cooperation in that the government will provide necessary land and carry out the construction tasks of the common areas as well as the main building while private businesses are responsible for participating in incubation activities, creating and designing suitable spaces for smooth operation.

According to Mr. Nguyen Viet Dung, Director of DoST, it is necessary to identify exactly the operation model of this place so that it will become the true center of innovative startup, not an office-for-rent place.

Therefore, DoST has just organized a related conference with scientists and experts in the field in hope of gathering feasible recommendations to effectively exploiting the to-be center. Designers were also invited to offer their ideas on space designation for the utmost efficient operation.

As said by Mr. Hoang Linh, CEO of CirCO Co working Space, the birth of this particular center signals the deep interest of the government in startup activities, which satisfactorily answer the need of the community. He added that since this center is to support startup people as to policies, there must be a designated unit by the municipal authorities in order to closely connect with the public and offer timely suitable policies to boost the development of the startup community.

Mr. Francis Nguyen Tuan Anh, senior expert of Microsoft Asia-Pacific, insisted that it is the connection and cooperation activities that mark the difference of this center from others. To do this, the authorities in HCMC should host several informal meetings with members of the startup ecosystems to form a sustainable operation model.

Startup expert Vu Tuan Anh shared that it is essential to identify whether this new center will seek economic profit or will focus more on innovative startup support. Along with modern infrastructure, this center should provide long-term human resources training programs. He also commented that the center should be managed under the public-oriented method.

According to Mr. Ly Truong Chien, President of Tri Group, the to-be HCMC Innovative Startup Center needs to prioritize any industries including the development strategy of HCMC. Since the city is in the process to transform into a smart city, there must be more focus on startups and labs in these fields. “Selected businesses will receive various preferences, but they must satisfy specific key Performance Indicator (KPI). So they will need specialists from state units to aid the operation yet in reasonable control”, said Mr. Chien.

Until now, DoST has supported 1,777 startup projects, 310 of which have perfected their products or business models. It has also helped 550 projects to reach domestic as well as international markets successfully while delivering financial consultation for 280 projects.

By BA TAN – Translated by Vien Hong

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