My 3 Takeaways from TechFest Vietnam 2017

By Trendlines Agtech VP Business Development Sarai Kemp

I presented at TechFest Vietnam 2017 (14-15 November, Hanoi) at the invitation of the Vietnamese Minister of Science and Technology, after we met in Israel. At Trendlines, when we’re invited to speak, we take the opportunity!

VP Business Development Trendlines Agtech Sarai Kemp at TechFest Vietnam 2017

VP Business Development Trendlines Agtech Sarai Kemp (back row, 2nd from right) at the workshop for the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology at TechFest Vietnam 2017.

The Vietnamese government is looking to build and promote an ecosystem for entrepreneurs and innovation, so they wanted to learn more about the Israeli model. In fact, they traveled to several countries to gain a better understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation, and they were most impressed by the Israeli model and how it could “fit” Vietnam. Among other things, during their visit to Israel, we discussed the role of technology transfer organizations (TTOs) and the incubator structure. This is one reason why they invited me.

One of the “pillars of innovation” they identified is agtech since Vietnam is largely an agricultural country. Vietnam is the world’s leading exporter of peppers (the spice) and certain types of finfish and the number two exporter of coffee.

TechFest was organized in seven start-up “villages,” each centered around a different technology area: Community, Agritech, Edtech, Medtech, Tourism and F&B, Emerging Tech, and Frontier and Fintech.

I spoke in the Agritech village about the specific challenges of agtech start-ups and ways to overcome them. I also served as a judge at the final TechFest competition, where 10 start-ups competed and presented.

The special workshop where I spoke was for the entire Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), chaired by the Minister. Together with another Israeli representative and the Israeli commercial attaché, we spoke about the Israeli model of innovation, the role of incubators and TTOs to see how Vietnam could implement similar types of organizations.

VP Business Development Trendlines Agtech Sarai Kemp presents at TechFest Vietnam 2017

VP Business Development Trendlines Agtech Sarai Kemp presents at a TechFest Vietnam 2017 workshop.

I also presented at a workshop for start-ups in the accelerator program financed by MOST. I shared the challenges that start-ups face in general, and led an open discussion on ways to overcome the challenges. The Vietnamese entrepreneurs were open, eager learners who asked many questions.

My three takeaways from the presentations and conference:

  1. The central government is pushing the start-up ecosystem very seriously. There is an increase in the numbers of start-ups and an increase in regional accelerators, and they started a financing program for start-ups.
  2. Vietnam is “into” start-ups. They have TV shows about them, and everybody wants to be an entrepreneur.
  3. The society generally is very entrepreneurial.

See the article about TechFest Vietnam 2017 (in Vietnamese).

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