Thursday saw a one-day strategy meeting on an initiative to promote tech entrepreneurship kick off in Ho Chi Minh City, where government representatives and stakeholders convened to discuss ways to support young innovators in the tech sector in the Lower Mekong sub-region.
The event, co-hosted by the US Department of State and IDG ASEAN, attracted government and private sector officials from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
While the state officials took this chance to assess their national entrepreneurial ecosystems, those from the private sector had a chance to share insights into developing components of these ecosystems.
Attendees discussed a project called TIGERS@Mekong, where they addressed the challenges to creating an effective enabling environment for technology entrepreneurs in the Lower Mekong sub-region.
In her opening speech at the event, US Consul General Rena Bitter said she feels much of the energy of HCMC comes from young entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas.
But “talent alone isn’t enough,” she noted.
“New ideas are fragile and need support to grow. The way to do that is by creating an environment through strong connections between the public and private sectors that allows entrepreneurs and inventors to turn ideas into successful innovative businesses,” the Consul General said.
Besides the speech by Consul General Bitter, the meeting also heard other keynote speakers including Andrew O’Brien, the Secretary’s Special Representative for Global Partnerships, from the US Department of State; Nguyen Van Thao, Assistant Minister from the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry; and Tam Le, CEO of IDG ASEAN.
TIGERS@Mekong, fully known as the Technology Innovation Generation and Entrepreneurship Resources, was launched by the US Department of State in recognition of the Mekong region’s potential as a source of innovation and in an effort to boost competiveness and growth in the region, according to a press release from the US Consulate General HCMC.
The Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), meanwhile, aims to increase investment opportunities in the region, particularly in infrastructure, entrepreneurship, and trade.
“This year…LMI is focusing on tech entrepreneurship, which adds a regional angel to our efforts to create public-private sector ties,” Bitter said at the event.
“We want to create a regional environment where tech entrepreneurs in LMI and ASEAN countries can thrive, and contribute to the futures of their countries.”