Building bridges between Finland and Vietnam at Slush 2016


Finnish-Vietnamese relations are in transition from development assistance to business and networks based collaboration. Vietnam is now a lower middle-income country with an economy growing at approximately 7% per annum and a population of almost 93 million. Vietnam’s demographics are favorable, there are over 30 million smartphone users and young people have an entrepreneurial drive that is also supported by the government; Vietnam’s ambition is to become a Startup Nation by 2020. Vibrant ecosystems are emerging in the large cities of Ho Chi Minh, Danang and Hanoi.  This interesting scene was strongly represented at Slush 2016 in Helsinki – let’s take a closer look!

The Vietnam-Finland Innovation Partnership Programme (IPP) has supported Vietnamese delegations to Slush events for three consecutive years. This year’s delegation to Finland was by far the largest and it consisted of almost 40 Vietnamese leading startup entrepreneurs and enablers. The delegation was coordinated by the HATCH! VENTURES, organiser of Vietnam’s main annual startup conference, HATCH! FAIR.

The target of the visit to Slush was to promote Vietnam’s rapidly emerging startup scene to the global audience and to build connections with Finnish collaborators on the individual, business and ecosystem level. Representatives of 14 startups and 8 leading enabler organisations along with political decision-makers from the cities of Ho Chi Minh and Danang joined the visit.

Following a packed 5-day agenda, the participating entrepreneurs met several Finnish and other partners, investors and peers, and the enablers learned about the most successful models for supporting startups in Finland, particularly in the Helsinki and Tampere regions. Targeted workshops around ecosystem building, the role of cities as enablers and the digitalization of startup communities were organised. The two days at Slush were an eye-opening experience for those attending the event for the first time.

Given the rapid development of the Vietnamese startup environment in terms of local efforts that are backed with interest and entry of international accelerators, investors and expertise, Vietnam is enthusiastic to welcome the most successful Finnish accelerators, startup conferences and other models to establish operations in the market.   

Concrete Finnish-Vietnamese-global outcomes from the visit:

  • New business partners from Finland and other countries for participating enterprises
  • Preparation and matchmaking of Finnish and Vietnamese companies for Tekes-Natif joint call and further global business creation
  • Deepened ties between the leading cities and public innovation support organisations of Vietnam and Finland
  • Initiatives for concrete joint operations in the fields of training, knowledge exchange, events, support to innovative growth businesses, and so on
  • Connecting Finnish, Vietnamese and Estonian digital startup environments

Testimonials from delegates:

“Slush is not only a tech event, it delivers tech performance and out-of-the-box tech themes. Vietnam’s booth was located at very good location and helped us attract many visitors. Personally, I was able to introduce Vietnam’s education sector to Finnish education players. This initiated several further collaboration opportunities.”

Duke Nguyen, CEO of Sen Techs

There is no doubt that technology is a powerful development tool that has helped millions of people in poor countries to improve their lives. The Slush conference is one of the world class technology “generators” that social impact innovative enthusiasts should not miss. As an enabler of the delegation, I was able to connect several members of the delegation with Finnish companies who are planning to do business in Vietnam.”

Thuy Phuong Nguyen, Asia – Finland Law Consulting, a Finland-based company that took part in delegation activities


Slush Delegation Brochure


The Vietnam-Finland Innovation Partnership Programme (IPP) is one of the last bilateral ODA programs between Finland and Vietnam. It aims to build innovation and entrepreneurial capabilities in Vietnam and bridge Finnish, Vietnamese and global innovation and startup communities and players. So far, IPP has funded and trained 18 high growth potential startups, 14 incubator and accelerator development projects and trained 12 startup coaches and 33 university lecturers. Currently IPP is facilitating a joint call for companies between Finnish and Vietnamese public innovation financiers (Tekes and Natif) and supporting the digitalization of the Vietnamese startup ecosystem.