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VN deputy minister: Schools need to focus more on entrepreneurship

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Technicians use remote controls to operate machines at Saigon Hi-tech Park’s Training Centre in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. DANH LAM/VIETNAM NEWS AGENCY/VIET NAM NEWS

VN deputy minister: Schools need to focus more on entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship has been ignored by schools and young people in Vietnam for too long, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Bui The Duy has said.

Speaking during a discussion panel at the Vietnam Business Summit 2019 last week, Duy said the Vietnamese start-up community, which numbers about 3,000 firms, is still far behind the world in terms of development.

He said that small firms should focus on absorbing technologies and applications from global players as a firm foundation of future development.

“We should not be so optimistic about Vietnam’s start-up fairy tales because all rapidly growing companies operate upon the build-up of inventions and applications,” Duy said.

“Vietnamese firms have been copying the world and we have hardly had anything of our own. We have not had any intellectual properties being registered.”

Start-up businesses require an ecosystem, which is developed based on a strong financial sector and market-leading companies with help from research institutions and schools, he said.

“Local firms are only able to buy technologies but unable to master them. So they have to buy new technologies to keep business operation up to date.

“If we cannot master existing technologies, we cannot develop new ones.”

Vietnam cannot keep benefiting from a low-cost workforce and cheap resources, or its economy will never escape the middle-income trap, he said.

Technological advancement is key to economic development, he stressed.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, Vietnam has become the second home to many international corporations – who have helped boost the Vietnamese economy by bringing in new technologies and production methods.

Businesses and government agencies must pay attention to the development of infrastructure and the finance-banking system. In addition, students must be more creative.

Vietnam has made strong efforts to nurture sectors that benefit from Industry 4.0 and embed information and communications in all areas, which is proven by the high number of both internet and smartphone users and a fast-growing telecommunications sector in the country.

Simple Tech Investment JSC chairman Phan Minh Tan said technologies help companies transform business models, increase productivity, improve corporate governance, optimise the working system and expand operations.

But technologies also put Vietnamese enterprises under pressure to change. If a business does not fully understand technologies, it will waste resources, Tan said.

In the last two decades, the world has made great achievements in science and technology, offering vast opportunities and changes for businesses, said Vietnam-Australia Seafood JSC chairman Luong Thanh Van.

PwC’s Industry 4.0 Vietnam Survey 2018 shows that companies in Vietnam anticipate that the fast-approaching Industry 4.0 will bring significant benefits, such as higher efficiency of operations as well as improved access to customers brought by digitisation and automation. The same positive sentiment was conveyed by most industry leaders at the summit.

“Adopting new technologies is important, but more than that, business leaders need to think of digital transformation as an integral part of the overall development strategy of their business,” PwC Consulting Vietnam technology consulting partner Vo Tan Long said at a panel discussion focusing on the impacts of scientific and technological innovations.

PwC Vietnam director-general Dinh Thi Quynh Van stressed a holistic approach to transforming for the digital age.

She said a successful business strategy for the digital age should be able to empower the workforce to own the digital transformation journey.

In a new study PwC conducted among more than 22,000 workers across 11 countries, 61 per cent of respondents were positive about the impact of technology on their day-to-day work, but only a third said they are given many opportunities to develop digital skills outside their normal duties.

“Upskilling the current workforce is key. It is about giving each existing employee the opportunities to gain the knowledge, tools, and abilities they need to use more advanced and ever-changing technologies in the workplace,” Van said.

“Given the right context, people can be highly adaptable, and the ability of organisations to make use of that adaptability will be critical.”

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