Enterprise Singapore expands innovation alliance network to Ho Chi Minh City

The skyline of Ho Chi Minh city seen from the Saigon river, on June 6, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Enterprise Singapore has expanded the Global Innovation Alliance network to Ho Chi Minh City, plugging Singapore technology start-ups into the emerging innovation scene in Vietnam.

Launched in 2017, the initiative seeks to create more opportunities for Singaporeans, students, entrepreneurs and businesses to gain overseas experience and collaborate with overseas counterparts.

The involvement of Ho Chi Minh City in the network was formalised at a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing between Enterprise Singapore, Quest Ventures - a Singapore-based leading venture fund for companies - and Saigon Innovation Hub, an agency under the Department of Science and Technology in the city in southern Vietnam.

The signing took place yesterday at WeWork, a co-working space in Ho Chi Minh City.

Under the MOU, the three partners will organise curated programmes to introduce Singapore start-ups to the innovation ecosystem in Ho Chi Minh City, and connect them to partners, investors and customers in Vietnam.

It will also create more internship opportunities for Singapore students in start-ups and innovative companies in Vietnam.

Targeted to commence in September this year, the first cohort will involve up to 10 Singapore start-ups, with another two runs of the programme expected to take place over the next 12 months.

As part of the Global Innovation Alliance network, Ngee Ann Polytechnic also signed six MOUs with Vietnamese start-ups.

They are: Alley51 Ventures, a venture builder; CoderSchool, a training school for developers, designers and data scientists; ELSA Corp, a start-up for foreign languages; Lazada Vietnam; Quest Ventures; and Saigon Innovation Hub.

Last year, Vietnamese start-ups attracted close to US$900 million (S$1.2 billion) of funding, more than three times that in 2017, said Enterprise Singapore chief executive Png Cheong Boon. "Vietnam is a growing market for technology start-ups and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), given the young and increasingly tech-savvy population and strong government support," he said.

The Global Innovation Alliance network now has connections to 11 cities globally.

They are: Bangkok in Thailand; Beijing, Suzhou and Shanghai in China; Berlin and Munich in Germany; Jakarta in Indonesia; Paris in France; Tokyo in Japan; San Francisco in the United States; and now, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2019, with the headline Enterprise Singapore expands innovation alliance network to Ho Chi Minh City. Subscribe