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Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam visited a booth of a student’s start-up project at the launch of the National Students’ Startup Day held yesterday in Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tung

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam expects each and every young Vietnamese to be ambitious and fearless to follow start-up dreams and bring prosperity to the country.

He made the appeal in front of hundreds of students on Sunday at the Ha Noi-based National Economics University for the National Students’ Startup Day, held by the Ministry of Education and Training.

“The country has experienced countless disasters and destruction, Vietnamese people have fought two devastating wars, with unimaginable sacrifices and losses. That’s why, along with the dream of independence and people, Vietnamese also wish for prosperity,” Deputy PM Dam said, adding that despite great development leaps in recent times, Viet Nam remains a low middle-income country.

“We cannot expect outside countries to make riches for Viet Nam, each Vietnamese must do their best to contribute to the country’s growth,” he said, adding younger generations would be the driving force of this growth.

Aside from the youth’s efforts, it’s important for teachers and leaders of education institutions to support the students in science and research, he said, adding that the universities should be the “breeding ground” of new ideas, not an environment for propagating “old knowledge.”

Deputy PM stressed that universities are the main factor in the national start-up ecosystem.

Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha said the ministry had instructed education institutions on how to organise activities to inspire start-up spirit amongst students, including training programmes and counselling sessions to help young start-up founders overcome challenges.

After a year of implementing the Government-sponsored project to support students’ start-up efforts, Nha said the education sector has started to pay more attention to start-up education and support, evidenced from the participation of projects by younger students in this year’s contest.

The final round of the national students’ start-up competition for this year was also held yesterday as part of the event, with the 15 best projects chosen amongst 80 start-ups in various fields from health, education to fintech and agriculture.

Nurturing start-up spirit

In a conference on early startup education, part of the event, Nguyen Xuan Thanh, deputy director of General Secondary Education under Education and Training Ministry, said Viet Nam wants to nurture entrepreneurship spirit among students before they even reach university age, adding that an entrepreneurial spirit was an important part of career guidance for school-aged children.

With enhanced entrepreneurial spirit, Vietnamese young people could change their mindset from “seeking jobs” to “creating jobs” after graduation, he said.

Thanh said that last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved a project ‘Supporting student entrepreneurship 2017-2020 with a vision towards 2025’ (known as Project 1665), aimed at equipping college students with the basic knowledge and skills on how to start a business, and more importantly, changing the mindsets of students regarding entrepreneurship.

“Project 1665 focuses on supporting students to learn and develop their entrepreneurship spirit and called on relevant stakeholders including schools and businesses for nurturing the spirit,” he said.

Nguyen Canh Binh, CEO and founder of Alphabook, a company that publishes books about business administration in Viet Nam, said links among Government, schools and entrepreneurs brought benefits for all, particularly students.

Binh said he hoped the Government and schools would pay more attention to assessing and selecting company partners so the trilateral cooperation could be more effective.

Also at the conference, deputy chief of Mission, The Embassy of Israel in Viet Nam, Doron Lebovich spoke about Israel’s experiences in startup training in general education.

“Israel has startup education models in the curriculum for primary school students,” he said, adding that they encouraged young students to study science and technology, and regularly offered training programmes on science and technology for teachers.

“The new era changes kinds of skills and knowledge students need in order to effectively participate in the social and economic life.

“Increasing exposure to financial education including financial management, career guidance and entrepreneurship elevates the rate at which individual save and accumulate wealth during their adult lives,” he said.

Doan Bich Ngoc, the director of Junior Achievement (JA) Viet Nam, said the startup world was a harsh environment in which businesses nurture not only their passion, but also accumulate knowledge and skills.

“Entrepreneurship spirit, knowledge, especially financial understanding and their own strengths are important foundation for successful startups,” she said.

JA Vietnam is a member of JA Worldwide, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to addressing fundamental social and economic challenges of young people by educating them to transform their future.— VNS

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