WHISE is a major event held annually by the HCMC People’s Committee for the encouragement of innovation and startups.
WHISE 2019, themed ‘Cooperation for the Development of an Innovative Startup Ecosystem’, is expected to welcome 120 innovative startup businesses from the Republic of Korea, Ireland, Sweden, Thailand, and Singapore, bring along products in the fields of digital transformation, information technology, e-commerce, hi-tech agriculture, 3D printing technique, biotechnology.
This event will host a series of activities about innovative startup in HCMC and matters related to implementing science-technology in constructing a smart city.
There will also be an exhibition of 150 booths on products and technologies of both domestic and international entrepreneurs to attract the interest of global investors.
Another noticeable activity is the I-Star Awards ceremony to promote innovation and technology implementation into manufacturing, trading, and social activities to obtain breakthroughs for the sustainable growth of HCMC.
The last WHISE 2018 had the honor to deliver the I-Star Awards to promising startup organizations like Ve Xe Re Joint Stock Co., FreelancerViet Co. Ltd., and EKID Studio Joint Stock Co., and to innovative solutions like WEBGIS technology by the HCMC Preventive Medicine Center and the application to use IT in monitoring street safety in Binh Thanh District. These award winners are now in good shape, creating impressive contribution to the community.
Deputy Director of the HCMC Department of Science and Technology Nguyen Khac Thanh hoped that WHISE 2019 would become a valuable chance for managers and the HCMC startup community to analyze the results from startup activities lately. Following that will be feasible proposals to further boost the growth of the innovative startup ecosystem in the near future while actively searching for high-quality startups.
Statistics from the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) on Vietnamese startup development reveal that HCMC is now accommodating nearly a half of the national startups, becoming the great contributor for one of the quickest and most innovative, dynamic economies in Asia.
The continuous encouragement in Vietnam has urged a large quantity of local business people to grow stronger and attracted a huge number of foreigners wishing to approach such a potential market with many high-quality IT employees.
Austrade also stated that many limits of startups such as small size, restricted chance to make breakthroughs, or low opportunities to approach huge investment, and even lacks of professional and necessary skills have made it much more difficult for entrepreneurs to link to the regional ecosystem. The annual WHISE by HCMC, or similar events like Topica Founder Institute (a program to train startup people co-held in Vietnam and Thailand by Topica Edtech Group and Founder Institute), Vietnam Startup Day (organized by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union in HCMC) aim at improving the capacity of innovative startup people in the city.
According to information from the HCMC Department of Science & Technology, technology startups are categorized into information technology (accounting for 41.1 percent), hi-tech agriculture (20.13 percent), educational technology (16.11 percent), IoT (9.4 percent), food processing (6.71 percent), tourism (3.36 percent, and financial technology (0.67 percent).
Reports also show that the number of Vietnamese startups increase from 400 in 2012 to nearly 1,800 in 2015, and to more than 3,000 now. Correspondingly, the capital invested into these businesses rose three times from US$205 million to $900 million in the period between 2016 – 2018. This is such a welcoming signal of a better future for the Vietnamese startup community.