Local startups find silver-lining during COVID-19 pandemic


For many startups, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a nightmare. However, the pandemic has also opened up a number of new opportunities for those prepared to innovate.

According to Le Group, in the first half of the year, the number of firms that ceased doing business was 59,800. However, over the same period, they also recorded the establishment of 78,300 new enterprises, an increase of 11.9 percent over the same period last year.

Many have been, relative to the rest of the economy, quite successful.

Le Ba Tan, Deputy General Director of Viettel Networks

“It is easy to find businesses once doing well now in trouble because of the pandemic. However, it is also undeniable that many startups have grown stronger because their products and technology are suitable for the changes that the pandemic has made to the habits of consumers,” said Hung Tran, co-founder of Got It, an online platform that administers digital gift certificate programs for businesses.

He believes that startups need to identify their core values as well as choose technologies that are suitable for what will be trending in the distant future instead of just solving current problems.

COVID-19 had also presented an opportunity for small businesses, which were previously unable to compete with large companies with both financial and technological potential, he said.

“There are difficulties, but this is also an opportunity for Vietnamese startups to rise up, reaching out to the region and the world,” he added.

Over the past year, working from home has emerged as an ideal solution to both fight the pandemic and ensure business continuity. As a result, platforms serving people working from home have exploded. This is no longer a trend. As people realize that they can do good work without having to go to the office, more and more people are choosing not to go to the office.

Le Ba Tan, Deputy General Director of Viettel Networks agreed. He said recognizing limitations in existing operations and investing in new technologies was necessary when moving forward.

Taking the story from Viettel itself, Tan said digital transformation had been promoted before the pandemic broke out because Viettel had noticed a decline in telecommunications revenue. “Digitization is not only a trend but also the key to ensuring growth.”

“However, it is not easy for startups to realize these new trends. That’s also when they need to seek the support of technology incubators like Viet Solutions. Viet Solutions brings together leading experts in various fields… and is the perfect platform for startups to find the right path and overcome challenges,” he said.

By the end of this year or early next year, Viettel will put the 5G network into commercial operation on a national scale. The main objective of 5G is to facilitate the development of internet of things (IoT) products, making life easier.

“Automation and robotics have been talked about a lot in Vietnam. But in reality, there is not a lot of development in the industry. We want to go to the heart of their development and create a real ecosystem of high-tech infrastructure,” he added.

The Deputy General Director said that big or small businesses need to share with each other. With the rollout of 5G nationwide and adding an extra layer of connectivity for 4G networks, the company would support any firm developing products and solutions that need telecommunications connectivity.

He added that Viettel had invested in two modern IoT laboratories in Southeast Asia in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The labs would provide free support for startup ideas that have the potential to be useful to society and business. If the lab model is successful, Viettel would expand to other localities.

“These labs are equipped with leading-edge technologies in the field of IoT, big data, cloud computing and AI. They are completely free. Similar to the model of Viet Solutions, we also have a team to evaluate ideas. Viettel will create an environment that facilitates the development of ideas and related products,” he added.


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