In 2020 and the first months of 2021, the Vietnamese business community continuously suffered heavy impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the data cited by Chairman and CEO of Le Group of Company Le Quoc Vinh, in early 2021, there were 78.3 thousand newly established enterprises, an increase of 11.9%, but 59.8 thousand enterprises ceased business, an increase. 23%. Like every business in the economy, startups have also been hit hard by the pandemic. Mr. Hung Tran, co-founder of Got It, said that it is not uncommon for businesses that are "to do well" but become troubled because of the pandemic. However, it is undeniable that there are startups that have grown strongly thanks to products and technologies that are suitable for the changes that the pandemic has caused to user habits. Mr. Hung Tran believes that founders need to identify core values as well as choose technologies that are still suitable for trends in the distant future instead of just solving immediate problems. "Start a business, but don't pull the shoulder patch, use whatever you have temporarily," shared Mr. Hung Tran.
Vietnamese businesses face many difficulties during the epidemic
The changes caused by Covid-19 are described as turning points, playing the role of "clearing the replay card". However, this very moment also presents an opportunity for small businesses, which were previously unable to compete with large companies with both financial and technological potential. “Common difficulties but the opportunity to change the world will come to a few. This is also an opportunity for Vietnamese startups to rise up, reach out to the region and the world,” said Mr. Hung Tran about the opportunity besides the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Sharing this view, Mr. Le Ba Tan, Deputy General Director of Viettel Networks said that the pandemic creates challenges, but a vision to ensure long-term development is imperative for a startup to survive in the long run.
Over the past year, remote working, working from home (WFH) has emerged as an ideal solution to both fights the epidemic and ensure business operations. Along with that, the platforms serving WFH also exploded. This is an opportunity for a startup if it sees a change in user behavior and meets the needs. In addition, startups also need to choose fields to go to market as quickly as possible. This change will also let founders determine if the solution is right for the market.
Mr. Le Ba Tan shared the importance of investing in new technology. Taking the story from Viettel itself, Mr. Tan said digital transformation was promoted before the pandemic broke out because Viettel noticed a decline in telecommunications revenue. Digitization is key to ensuring growth.
The epidemic gave that vision a powerful boost. In the current difficult context, Deputy General Director of Viettel Networks said that businesses, big or small, need to share with each other. With the rollout of 5G nationwide and adding an extra layer of connectivity for 4G networks, Mr. Tan vowed to support any business that is developing products and solutions that need telecommunications connectivity. Mr. Tan revealed that Viettel is investing in two of the most modern IoT research labs in Southeast Asia in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. These research labs will be ready to support free of charge start-up ideas that the council appreciates for their application potential as well as their meaning to society and businesses. If successful, Viettel will expand the model in other provinces.
“These labs are equipped with leading advanced technologies in the fields of IoT, Big Data, Cloud and AI and they are completely free,” said Mr. Tan. “Viettel will go in the open direction. For startups that want to be supported, just proving their potential and efficiency will receive support in 4 key areas IoT, Big Data, Cloud and AI. Regarding the role of the startup ecosystem, from an investor's perspective, Mr. Tran Quang Hung - Deputy Secretary of the Hanoi Youth Union, representative of Vinacapital Ventures said that Vinacapital Ventures has established a new investment fund to pour capital for investors. startups. Funds will only focus on promoting new technologies instead of "burning money" for growth. Besides, the fund is also ready to make up for the missing points, such as offices, technical support, or relationships so that startups can focus on product development.