Report on map of 100 startups with social impact in Vietnam, UNDP

Innovative start-up business (startups) were first introduced into Vietnam by Project 844 (Project ‘Supporting the national innovation startup ecosystem to 2025’ under Decision 844/ Decision-Cont. in 2016). Project 844 is managed by the Ministry of Science and Technology and is the first national project to open the development stage of Vietnam’s Startup Nation. Since then, many other national projects such as Project 939 on promoting women’s entrepreneurship, Project 1665 of the Ministry of Education and Training in supporting students to start a business. And these activities are widely deployed at central and local levels. By 2000, there were about 3000 startups established.

In 2014, for the first time, Vietnam included in the Business Law the concept of a social enterprise (social enterprise). In 2015, the revised Civil Code also introduced the concept of social enterprises. Right from the five-year socio-economic development plan for the period 2016-2020, the Government has identified sustainable development as the focus. In 2018, the Government made strong commitments to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recently on September 25, 2020, the Prime Minister issued the Government’s Resolution on sustainable development in which the guiding view is that ‘Sustainable development is a requirement throughout the development of the country; closely, rationally and harmoniously combine economic development with social development and protect natural resources and environment, actively respond to climate change, ensure national defense, security, order and safety of the whole society and firmly protect national independence and sovereignty’.

Since 2015, when the legal concept of Social Business was born, there have only been about 100 Social Businesses registered under the Business Law. Among the 3000 startups in Vietnam currently reported by Project 844, the report estimates that about 5%-10% are impact startups. The concept of social impact startup (Impact startup) has been used recently by the national creative startup ecosystem and support organizations such as UNDP Vietnam (project 844). Impact startup is a form of coordination between an innovative business model based on intellectual property, a new business model that the Government is promoting from 2016 to now and continuing in the coming period, and a business model social industry.

According to the draft report summarizing the implementation of the 5-year socio-economic development strategy 2016-2020 and formulating the 5-year socio-economic development strategy 2021-2025 in the document of the upcoming XIII Party Congress, in the current international and domestic context, as well as with a vision to 2035, the national socio-economic development strategy for the period 2021-2050 prioritizes taking the pillars of rapid development and sustainable development, taking people are the focus of development, as well as development management and social management; relying on the market mechanism; taking innovation and technology start-ups as the pillars; such as solving emerging social and environmental problems; the issue of public service delivery capacity of public organizations, and promoting labor productivity, it can be seen that impact startup can be an effective tool for solving these problems as well as supporting the achievement of pharmacovigilance. strategic goals of the country both in terms of economic development and social development.

However, up to now, there has been no official concept of impact startup, especially the criteria for identifying social enterprises and startups – innovative start-ups are also lacking. With the importance of impact startup with the next stage of development of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship for the sake of sustainable development is necessary. From there, it is possible to accurately identify and locate businesses where they are located, and at the same time advocate for appropriate promotion policies for this group of businesses.

Forming the concept of impact startup, making a list of 100 impact startups and locating these 100 impact startups on the map of Vietnam to provide an overview of this innovative startup area for the first time opens up new directions in innovation in research-advocacy, academic research, business practice with a transdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approach.

Map of 100 startups with social impact in Vietnam made by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Truong Thi Nam Thang. The report received technical support from Phung Thi Thu Trang, Nguyen Hong Van, and was designed by Dinh Hoang Hong Son from the Vietnam Research Institute for Innovation and Development (VID).

The report received expert input in developing the concept of impact startup from Phan Hoang Lan, Vu Mai Hao, UNDP Vietnam and Dinh Anh Tuan, National Economics University.

The report cannot be made without the data participation of representatives of 155 impact startups participating in answering the questionnaire.

The report was ordered by UNDP Viet Nam.