Supporting the Reality of Asian Entrepreneurs

By Frank-Jürgen Richter

November 15, 2023

Innovation is like a spark that ignites progress and change globally. To fuel this spark, it’s crucial to create an environment that encourages innovation. One way to do this is by rethinking and adapting rules and regulations. Sometimes, rules that were designed for an earlier time can stifle creativity and new ideas. By updating or changing these rules, businesses can find more room to experiment and innovate. 

Mentoring is another powerful tool for driving innovation. Imagine you’re trying to solve a complex puzzle, and you have someone experienced guiding you. That’s what mentoring is like. When experienced individuals share their knowledge and insights with new entrepreneurs or employees, it can spark innovative thinking. They can provide guidance, share their own lessons and help others avoid common pitfalls. 

Venture capital is the fuel that powers the innovation engine. When startups have access to venture capital, it means they have the financial resources to turn their innovative ideas into reality. This financial support allows them to experiment, develop new products, and take risks that they might not have been able to afford otherwise. With venture capital available, startups can grow faster and work towards creating greater impact. 

Presently, global deal activity stands at a negative. Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Subdued deal activity remains a common phenomenon across all regions. Uncertain economic conditions took a hit on the global deal landscape and resulted in a massive decline in deal activity. Geopolitical tensions are impacting deal activity largely, while inflation, recession fears, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war are also having a notable impact on deal-making sentiments. Resultantly, deal activity took a hit in most of the key markets across these regions.”

How can innovation and entrepreneurship be supported across Asia? This question is at the heart of one of the plenary sessions planned for the upcoming Horasis Asia Meeting, which is scheduled to take place in Binh Duong, Vietnam between 3-4 December 2023. The gathering will bring together 300 CEOs, entrepreneurs, along with prominent government representatives from Southeast Asia. The primary focus of this meeting will be to delve into key trends that will influence Vietnam’s economy, steering it towards an exciting new chapter of global growth.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Asia

Innovators and their entrepreneur hubs are supported in various ways across Asia. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic—when various business sectors struggled due to long shutdowns—Vietnam’s startup scene thrived. In 2021, Vietnamese startups secured over $1.4 billion in funding, which is four times more than they received in 2020. 

Vietnam’s innovation and entrepreneurship are thriving thanks to key policies and initiatives. Back in May 2016, the Vietnamese government unveiled plans to boost the startup sector. This included creating a national startup ecosystem portal and allocating US$42 million for 800 startup projects and 200 startups, with 50 of them receiving venture capital funding. They also set ambitious goals to achieve by 2025, like supporting 2,000 startup projects and 100 startups with approximately US$85 million in venture capital. In 2017, the government took further steps to encourage female and student entrepreneurship by launching initiatives. They aimed to assist 20,000 women in starting new businesses, facilitate the formation of 1,200 women-led cooperatives, and establish 100,000 new women-owned enterprises. Such moves can help diversify and strengthen the business landscape, priming Vietnam to be one of the leading markets for progressive entrepreneurship in the region. 

Looking ahead to 2022, the Vietnamese government has laid out a roadmap for boosting innovation in science and technology. Their plan involves investing between 1.2% to 1.5% of the GDP in science and technology by 2025, with a total national spending of 0.8% to 1% of the GDP on scientific research and technology. These measures are set to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in Vietnam, and will allow the country to take crucial steps in positioning itself as one of Asia’s most competitive economies.

Example for Others

Vietnam’s innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives can serve as a valuable example and source of inspiration for other Asian countries. While specific policies and approaches may need to be tailored to the unique circumstances and needs of each country, there are several key principles and strategies that are transferable. 

Strategies such as government support, inclusivity, investment in research and technology, public-private partnerships and venture capital support are scalable approaches that can be easily replicated by other countries. 

However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of these initiatives will depend on various factors, including the local economic and social context, the political climate, and the specific challenges and opportunities of each country. Should Vietnam succeed in enabling an environment of transformative innovation, their methods can be a model that other countries in the region can refer to for their own success.

Photo Caption: A view of Ho Chi Minh City.