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USAID BUILD-IT, Dow Vietnam STEM program connects entrepreneurship and engineering

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Over 100 engineering students and guests throughout Vietnam on August 19 joined an investor-style pitch competition, namely Maker to Entrepreneur: Venture Demo Day, co-hosted by USAID BUILD-IT Program and Dow Vietnam, under the framework of the USAID BUILD-IT and Dow Vietnam STEM Program.

The 14 student teams from top engineering technology universities in Vietnam developed their innovative projects during the EPICS program to provide engineering solutions for real world problems, including supporting the vulnerable, sustainability, agricultural productivity, and social welfare improvement.

Carrying their innovations onto the Maker to Entrepreneur program, the teams advanced their EPICS projects into viable products and shared their early market traction at the Venture Demo Day.

The program brought opportunities for students to improve independence, creativity, determination, business savvy, and communication skills to take their idea from inception to complete the pitch deck and present to the judge panel.

During the event, a panel of industry judges from Dow Vietnam, Amazon Web Services, Business Startup Support Center, Lead the Change, and Heramo scored the students on their product’s market demand.

The students demonstrated how engineers can learn to use market forces to prove that their early-stage products have market demand.

The judges were impressed by the customer feedback, evidence of demand, and students’ capacities and commitment to scale-up innovative solutions to make the world a more inclusive and sustainable place.

For the fourth year in a row, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Building University-Industry Learning and Development through Innovation and Technology (BUILD-IT) Alliance, implemented by Arizona State University, partnered with the Dow Vietnam STEM Program have joined forces to bring industry-linked applied projects in innovation, entrepreneurship, and research to undergraduates across Vietnam.

Nguyen Hoai Son, Dow Vietnam’s vice president, said, “At Dow, our approach to innovation starts with collaboration and the spirit of doing better to enhance sustainability, performance and productivity. With that in mind, we are very delighted to partner with USAID BUILD-IT Program and related stakeholders to implement STEM Program to inspire students with innovation and entrepreneurship by utilizing technical skills and innovative ideas to design, build and develop prototypes to address the community challenges.

“More importantly, the program also helps them gain the confidence and capacity to lead engineering and to commercialize their solutions to the potential customers,” Son added.

About the USAID BUILD-IT Alliance, it is a public-private partnership founded to support world-class engineering programs for work-ready graduates in Vietnam. The Alliance has over 16 industry partners and 11 Vietnamese university partners.

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