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Thursday, December 2, 2021

SK Group funds startups with outstanding social impact

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The SK Startup Fellowship 2021 (SKSF 2021) of the SK Group has announced a grant of US$50,000 for each of the top four startups creating outstanding social impact.

SKSF is an annual program to detect early-stage startup talent, support them to develop, and lay the foundation for the SK Group’s journey of companionship with Vietnamese startups.

Launched on March 9, this year’s program sought startups that created a social impact. From nearly 200 participating startups, SKSF 2021 on May 6 announced the top 13 startups chosen for the six-month acceleration journey, helping them achieve breakthrough growth for the next phase.

On November 11, the top 12 startups of SKSF 2021 participated in the Demo Day – the final round of the competition – to choose the winners. The event was held online and offline.

Addressing the event, Woncheol Park, managing director of SK SouthEast Asia, said, “For the second-year program, we focused on building strong relationships, while providing experiences more tailored for the startups.”

According to Park, the newest 1on1 mentoring program provided customized support as well. The mentors were matched based on the needs of each startup and helped them with strategic building, business planning and relying on their operating systems.

“This was a really difficult task due to Covid-19, but we were able to do it thanks to the strong support provided by our program partner BSSC and local expert mentors,” he said.

SK Group aims to help startups access the best foundation and growth opportunities. In addition to the financial grant at the end of the program, SKSF 2021 has provided startups with invaluable non-financial support to help them enhance their inner power. This non-financial support is in two main axes of activities – training and mentoring – along the six-month journey of the SKSF 2021 program.

The board of judges of the SKSF 2021 final round consisted of leading experts in the Vietnam startup ecosystem, with 10-20 years of experience working with the startup and innovation ecosystem in Vietnam and the region. They offered sharp criticism and valuable suggestions for each business model of the top startups.

Each startup had a five-minute presentation and a five-minute question-and-answer session in front of the board of judges. At this heated competition, Top Startup SKSF 2021 presented innovative business models, demonstrated breakthrough technologies, and answered intelligently and convincingly.

After the competition of the startups, the judges selected the top four startups to award the top prizes of SKSF 2021, comprising Vietnam Artificial Intelligence Solutions, WeWe Technology JSC, GIMO, and Umbalena. Each of them was awarded the grant of US$50,000.

The consolation prize was a grant of US$26,000 that went to VIFO: a software-as-a-service platform to connect and provide full-scale solutions for all insurance stakeholders at once.

The remaining startups that received grants of US$16,000 per startup included Otrafy, Palexy, Veritas, Med247, Nam Tuoi Cuoi (Smiling Mushroom), CyHome, and Phenikaa Maas.

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