Universities’ startup guide for students

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TVU – Numerous colleges and universities in the Mekong Delta have always paid attention and provided favorable environments for students to develop and carry out their startup ideas and projects.

Thí sinh trình bày dự án trước Ban Giám khảo Cuộc thi thi “Ý tưởng học sinh, sinh viên khởi nghiệp khu vực ĐBSCL năm 2022”.
Students presented the contest project “Ideas of students and students starting a business in the Mekong Delta region in 2022”.

Cultivating the startup passion

At Tra Vinh University, the startup movement among students has always been of great interest to the university. From school-level to regional to worldwide competitions, TVU students have taken part in a variety of startup events and have won several awards. In order for students’ initiatives to be carried out, TVU consistently offers favorable conditions and starting assistance policies. Notably, a 50 million VND low-interest loan will be used to help each startup initiative and project.

According to Mr. Cao Thanh Tam, Vice President of Tra Vinh University’s Student Union and Deputy Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, TVU often supports students with startup costs like intellectual property registration, training, and financial support for product display at events or trade fairs. The university, in particular, maintains tight ties with “enterprise incubators” to foster an environment that would encourage students to launch their own businesses.

Due to the investment, Tra Vinh University annually enters two projects into the final round of the Student Startup Idea Contest hosted by the Ministry of Education and Training, in addition to having products on display at the Vietnam and Mekong Techfest. More than 40 new initiatives have been launched by the Youth Union thus far, and 8 more have been incubated. Only in 2021, the Youth Union had 14 ideas and projects that were awarded provincial awards, three projects advanced to the Mekong Delta startup competition semifinals, and five projects advanced to the Central Committee of the Youth Union’s contest for rural youth startups.

Dr. Nguyen Minh Hoa, rector of Tra Vinh University and chairman of the board of directors of the Student Startup Supporting Network in the Mekong Delta, stated that the state agencies in the Mekong Delta are very concerned with and supportive of the startup movement among students in order to encourage innovative start-ups. Recently, the Student Startup Supporting Network in the Mekong Delta has been founded, and the Board of Directors for the years 2022–2024 has been chosen, with 17 members coming from local institutions and colleges.

The network was created with the intention of encouraging high school students, students, and alumni to embrace the spirit, knowledge, and skills of entrepreneurship; boosting close ties between higher education institutions; enhancing cooperation among network members; and maximizing the resources of each organization to support start-ups. Moreover, the network also links members who work on international initiatives and do studies on creative start-ups.

“In order to foster a conducive atmosphere for students who are passionate about startups to develop ideas and put them into operation, the university has now opened a Startup Club with more than 1,200 members. Additionally, satellite clubs for start-ups, such as student cooperative models and experimental business models, have been created. As a result, my friends and I could gain more knowledge and abilities to build a business,” according to Business Administration student Nguyen My Trang.

'Vẽ đường' cho sinh viên khởi nghiệp ảnh 1
The Organizing Committee awarded the First prize to “the Green Anchovy project” of students of Kien Giang University.

Remaining steadfast after graduation

There is a growth in student startups, and each university has unique strategies for assisting their students. Dr. Nguyen Van Thanh, Vice President of Kien Giang University, claimed that the institution provides training with an emphasis on practical application and outlined three key objectives in the start-up and innovation movement: encouraging students to have an startup spirit, fostering startup knowledge and skills, and providing a setting in which students can develop their startup projects. These things enable them to be constantly innovative, access new technology, enhance their skills, train their minds, and establish an orientation for them before graduation.

Kien Giang University has improved its relationships with businesses since 2016 so that students can approach, exchange ideas, get hands-on experience, develop their professional knowledge, and find out how to run and manage a business. As a result, students’ ideas and initiatives are becoming more significant and more practicable. Many projects have received positive feedback from the judges of startup competitions.

In order to build a startup ecosystem as well as encourage students’ innovativeness, Kien Giang University has been gradually establishing relationships with the National Startup Advisory Council and universities and colleges to annually organize the innovative startup ideas contest KGU-STARTUP. Students who participated in the aforementioned activities changed how they perceived things and had strong confidence in making their thoughts and ideas come true. According to Dr. Nguyen Van Thanh, many training activities as well as startup workshops for both students and lecturers were conducted and actually generated a great effect. Those events spread the spirit of startup culture across the university and developed a stronger relationship with the community.

The Green Anchovy concept, created by student Nguyen Thi Thuy Lien from Kien Giang University, received the highest place in the 2022 Student Startup Competition in the Mekong Delta. The jury determined that Green Anchovy was a creative start-up project with a number of values, including increasing the value chain of indigenous anchovy resources, developing more typical items for Kien Giang tourism, supporting community, and providing a quality innovative product at a competitive price.

The project’s products included Kien Giang sea anchovy cracker and Kien Giang sea anchovy spicy salt. Speaking about the project, Thuy Lien said that the Green Anchovy project was centered on utilizing the value chain of local resources (Kien Giang anchovies) to produce new food items, particularly items with local characteristics to serve the market and tourism, contributing to local economic and social development.

By Lan Anh