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May 14, 2024 / 19:03

Hanoi students dominate national pitch competition

The capital reaffirms its leadership among 63 provinces and cities in startup acceleration.

Winning five out of 10 first prizes at the grand finale of the 2024 National Student Entrepreneurship Festival, Hanoi continues to prove its leadership among the nation's startup communities.

 Students and teachers from the Hanoi University of Science and Technology at the festival. Photo courtesy of the university

The sixth National Student Entrepreneurship Festival ended yesterday night (May 13) in the Mekong Delta city of Cantho with a grand finale and an awarding ceremony to honor the best 10 projects.

Five of the 10 best prizes went to Hanoi-based teams, including the Foreign Trade University (FTU), the Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST), the Thuy Loi (Water Resources Management) University, and Hanoi high-school students (presented in the name of the Hanoi Department of Education and Training).

At the contest, FTU students introduced their For Kids’ Sake Boardgame, a program on sex education developed, and Thuy Loi University presented Hand of Hope, a robotic glove project to help people with their hand rehabilitation.

The HUST students unveiled their idea of making coffee ground-original capsules for industrial and domestic burning, which is expected to provide a supplementary product to the energy sector and help reduce environmental pollution.

The Hanoi Department of Education and Training won two first prizes for their projects of producing rehabilitation devices for patients undergoing stroke recovery and using AI technologies to maximize business performance.

The impressive performance of Hanoi students at the festival, also known as the SV Startup Contest, highlights the role of capital in promoting entrepreneurship and startup spirit across the country.

According to Deputy Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Le Hong Son, as of October 2023, Hanoi was home to 1,000 startup businesses, which accounted for more than a quarter of the nationwide total.

The city had 32 startup incubators, equal to 38% of the nationwide total, and 14 business accelerators, representing 40% of the total. Since 2016, local startup companies had raised US$1 billion from 100 successful fundraising deals.

Entrepreneurship as main driver for the economy

After six editions, more than 3,000 student-made startup projects have been submitted to the National Entrepreneurship Contest, proving their boundless creativity and positioning themselves as the core of the nation’s future growth.

 Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh visits a pavilion at the festival. Photo: Vietnam News Agency

The total includes more than 700 new projects that were introduced and presented at the sixth National Entrepreneurship Festival held last weekend. The figure increased by nearly 200 projects compared to the previous event.

For the past six years, 70% of all projects have been put into official operation with real outputs. For the rest, the project developers are now either running tests or putting puzzle pieces together for the final design.

The quality of the projects and initiatives has become better one year after another. Many of them have received financial and technical support from the Government, universities and colleges, and private enterprises so that they turn into practice in some particular areas.

Notably, entrepreneurship, or the desire to launch a startup, is now spreading to every corner of the nation. Every young person can start their own business. Startup businesses have mushroomed like weeds over a rainy night.

At the closing ceremony of the festival, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thi Kim Chi appreciated Vietnamese students for their proactive participation in the event.

She also hailed universities, colleges, schools, and education agencies across the country for having promoted high-quality initiatives to the festival.

Deputy minister Chi expected that private enterprises and investors will pay attention to the projects, and that they will remain the supporters for the upcoming festivals.

“You all should showcase your creativity and resilience, remain innovative, and put your ideas into practical solutions that help resolve the issues with the national socio-economic growth,” she said.

“I hope your initiatives today will turn into groundbreaking startup businesses, which lay the founding values for the community, the society, and the nation.”

Chi’s remarks were based on the fact that 100% of universities, colleges, institutes and vocational schools have sought ways to help students kick-start their own companies. On the other hand, 90% of all university, college and high-school students now receive instructions to do business before their graduation.

Furthermore, 48% of all universities mandated startup initiation as a subject as of the end of 2023, up from 30% in 2020. Three-quarters of all universities have organized short-term training courses to give students necessary skills to being their companies.

Risk-taking young generations

The desire for starting up a business is always a dream and a concern among Vietnamese students, Bui Quang Huy, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, said at the festival.

 Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (center) and government officials inaugurate the festival. Photo: VGP

"Despite the challenges and severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are new start-up companies, new ideas and new products, especially those related to information, communication and technology," he said.

He encouraged students to take risks, accept mistakes and failures, and become more creative to achieve the best results.

Speaking at the festival, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh hoped for further cooperation between government agencies, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the business community and educational institutions to promote young Vietnamese entrepreneurship.

He urged an improved regulatory framework that "accelerates" the environment and conditions so that students can remain creative and continue working on their startup projects.

The Prime Minister also wanted to "intensify" connectivity between universities, colleges, and research institutes to enable students to create breakthrough products and solutions and to mobilize resources for startups.

He called for greater collaboration between universities, colleges, vocational schools and local authorities to build a national startup community, turn ideas into reality and benefit socio-economic development.

PM Chinh expected the education sector to focus more on promoting creative learning and teaching methods at school, forming and establishing many more startup incubators within universities, vocational schools and enterprises, solving current problems, and initiating a platform for students to offer their protected initiatives to private investors.

He also urged companies and government agencies to incorporate startups' solutions and products into their operations, take stronger measures to support startups, work with schools to develop creative spaces, and encourage students to become entrepreneurs.