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Vietnamese startups offered access to US$1 million venture capital

By Van Ly

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HANOI – The Vietnam National Innovation Centre (NIC) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) launched a joint project worth US$1 million on October 7 to offer venture capital for innovative businesses and startups in Vietnam between 2021 and 2023.

The project, “ADB Ventures – Supporting Impact Startups”, gives priority to startups active in the sectors of clean technology, finance, agriculture and health, helping them access financial support and build business skills. It also encourages entrepreneurs to develop technological solutions that can bring about a positive change to climate change resilience and gender equality.

According to ADB Country Director in Vietnam Andrew Jeffries, supporting startups in these sectors is vitally important to Vietnam’s balanced and sustainable economic emergence. 

Vietnam is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In the coming decades, increasing temperatures and rising sea levels will affect industries, agricultural productivity and the health and livelihoods of millions.

“Climate change is a particularly acute risk for the agricultural and informal sector workers, many of whom are women. Innovative private sector business models will play a powerful role in addressing Vietnam’s climate-related development challenges,” he said.

Addressing the launch ceremony, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Duy Dong said the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively affected Vietnamese innovative businesses and the access of startups to adventure investments, especially in their early stages. 

He expected that ADB Ventures would contribute to solving the problem of capital for the operations and development of innovative businesses and startups in Vietnam, thus helping Vietnam achieve its sustainable development goals.

Vu Quoc Huy, director of the NIC, said the ADB Ventures project will pave the way for adventure investment capital to come to the private sector and create breakthrough changes to serve the national development. The NIC will work with the ADB to seek and select potential firms operating in Vietnam that meet the project’s criteria.

Vietnam will participate in the implementation of two technical support components of the project, including the ADB Ventures Lab and the ADB Ventures SEED. 

The ADB Ventures Labs matches startups with commercial pilot opportunities through regional corporate and public sector networks, while the ADB Ventures SEED program provides small-scale funding valued up to US$200,000 for promising business models that have a strong potential to scale their impact on climate and gender.

“Seed program funding provides a vital runway, while giving ADB Ventures the opportunity to learn about the technology solution before deciding whether or not to consider larger equity or debt investments in future fundraising rounds. I look forward to announcing ADB Ventures transactions in Vietnam in the future,” said Jeffries.

It is expected that there will be 15 viable business ideas tested in the ADB Ventures Lab, and 10 innovative Vietnamese enterprises receiving assistance in the ADB Ventures SEED.

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