STARTUPS in Singapore hoping to tap into Vietnam’s emerging innovation scene can now get a leg-up with the expansion of the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) to Ho Chi Minh City. The GIA is a network of local and overseas partners in major innovation hubs.
Besides boosting startup collaborations between Singapore and Vietnam, the addition of Ho Chi Minh City to the existing network of 11 cities will create more internship opportunities for Singapore students in startups and innovative companies in Vietnam, said Enterprise Singapore on Thursday.
Enterprise Singapore, Singapore-based venture capital firm Quest Ventures and Vietnam government-backed agency, Saigon Innovation Hub (SIHUB), will organise curated programmes to connect Singapore startups to partners, investors and customers in Vietnam.
This will help them set up, test-bed and commercialise their solutions, and form business partnerships. It will also support Vietnamese startups to set up in Singapore.
Targeted to start in September, the first cohort of the programme will involve up to ten Singapore startups, with another two runs of the programme expected to take place over the next 12 months.
The market access programme will be conducted over three phases, with the third phase being optional.
The first phase will take place in Singapore and provide local startups with Vietnam mentors to refine business proposals. This is followed by a second phase over one and a half weeks in Ho Chi Minh City. Startups will meet with pre-arranged corporate partners, pitch to local investors for strategic investments and validate their products and services with local customers.
If needed, interested startups can then have support provided by Quest Ventures and SIHUB over the next six months, including online guidance and on-site engagement.
As part of the GIA, Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) has inked memorandums of understanding with five Vietnamese companies, SIHUB and Quest Ventures. NP aims to send 100 students over the next two years for internships with its partners. To support this initiative, NP will also be setting up its first GIA office in Ho Chi Minh City in August.
The other cities in the GIA are Bangkok, San Francisco, Tokyo, Paris, Jakarta, as well as Beijing, Suzhou and Shanghai in China, and Berlin and Munich in Germany.