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Credit: Singapore Management University

Credit: Singapore Management University

SMU forges partnerships to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in Vietnam

According to recent announcement, the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) of Singapore Management University (SMU) has signed two Memoranda of Understanding to share its experience in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship with Vietnam.

The partnerships aim to strengthen innovation & entrepreneurship networks between Singapore and Vietnam, and unlock the full potential of Vietnamese businesses and start-ups

The two MOUs were signed by SMU President Professor Arnoud De Meyer, President of University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City (UEH) Professor Nguyen Dong Phong, and Mr Don Lam, CEO and Co-Founder of Vina Capital, and Mr Truong Gia Binh, Chairman of the Private Sector Development Committee (PSDC) in the presence of Prime Minister of Vietnam His Excellency Nguyen Xuan Phuc, during his visit to SMU.

Professor Arnoud De Meyer, President of SMU, commented that “UEH and SMU’s business school are alike in both specialising in management education, with a strong interest in innovation and entrepreneurship”.

“Both run large-scale competitions in entrepreneurship and innovation, such as the annual Dynamics competition at UEH and the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition at SMU by IIE. The Lee Kuan Yew Competition, which is the biggest of its kind in East Asia, allows us to convene some of the best talents and ideas from around the world. With SMU and UEH partnering together, we will be even greater than the sum of our parts and have the potential to make a large joint impact in Vietnam and across Southeast Asia,” he added.

Joint institute of innovation and entrepreneurship

The first MOU, signed between SMU, UEH and Vina Capital, seeks to support entrepreneurial students and startups based in both countries to connect to new networks, partners, and overseas markets.

The three parties agreed to collaborate to set up and support the operation of a joint institute of innovation and entrepreneurship at UEH in Vietnam. 

UEH will establish and operate the Joint Institute, applying the operating model of IIE. It will contribute its human resources, expertise and physical facilities for the establishment and operation of the Joint Institute, while SMU will share the operating model of IIE with UEH in the establishment and operation of the Joint Institute.

In this partnership, SMU will act as the knowledge partner, contributing its relevant human resources, domain expertise and networks to establish the Joint Institute and its programme offerings.

Vina Capital is launching a new S$100 million tech fund, which will support start-ups under the Joint Institute as well as promising tech start-ups across Vietnam.

The three partners will co-organise events and activities to support and nurture the growth of entrepreneurship and innovation in Singapore and Vietnam. They also plan to jointly facilitate internship placements for entrepreneurial students from SMU and/or Vietnam to start-ups in Vietnam.

Report on ways to enhance innovation and entrepreneurship environment in Vietnam

The second MOU was signed between SMU, UEH and PSDC to look into preparing a report for the Vietnam government, proposing solutions that would enhance the innovation and entrepreneurship environment in Vietnam based on Singapore’s experiences.

“Responding to the Prime Minister's call for building the spirit of a start-up nation and the Government's guidelines in supporting the business community, the University of Economics HCMC has been fostering its support and research activities to understand models of business development and innovation around the world. The initiatives covered by the MOUs will allow us to further support Vietnamese start-ups to succeed and foster their innovation activities,” said Professor Nguyen Dong Phong, President of UEH.

During his visit, Prime Minister Phuc also visited the Business Innovations Generator (BIG) managed by IIE, interacted with start-ups founded by Vietnamese which are incubated by BIG, met with Vietnamese students currently studying at SMU as well as selected start-ups incubated by BIG with business operations in Vietnam.

In the past decade, IIE has incubated over 180 start-ups. It is one of the Singapore Government’s accredited mentor partners, selected for its financial and industry knowledge, and ability to value-add to start-ups in the form of mentorship, connections to business networks, and advice on go-to-market strategies.

This year marks the 45th year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Vietnam. At the invitation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong., Prime Minister Phuc’s official visit to Singapore took place from 25 to 27 April 2018.

As reported earlier, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)  recently established partnerships for Fintech innovation and banking supervision. The MOU on financial innovation will facilitate joint innovation projects, help Fintech companies better understand the regulatory regimes, and encourage information sharing on emerging Fintech trends and developments. MAS and SBV also revised their existing MOU on banking supervision to enhance cooperation in crisis management.

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