The Innovation Partnership Program IPP launched its second phase on Friday December 12th at the Lotte Center in Hanoi. The launch consisted of a press event and a workshop targeted to IPP stakeholders.
In their opening remarks Mr. Tran Quoc Khanh, Vice Minister of Science & Technology and Mr. Kimmo Lähdevirta, the Ambassador of Finland to Vietnam emphasized the significance of the program for both countries – it will target mutually beneficial partnerships between Finland and Vietnam in the current transition phase from development assistance to broad economic cooperation. The program shows that both parties are committed to an ambitious innovation agenda that will effectively contribute to Vietnam’s 2020 economic goals, attract investments and create an enabling environment for internationally minded entrepreneurs. “Vietnam has all what it needs to make innovation a success…We will be surprised how easy it is to make innovation happen when we work with the right partners”, Mr. Lähdevirta concluded.
The press was especially interested in lessons learnt from Finland and the current challenges facing Vietnam in developing the innovation system. The Ambassador summarised Finnish success to education that promotes creativity, strong partnerships and sufficient investment to innovation from both the public and private sector. Addressing the key points of development in Vietnam, Mr. Lauri Laakso, IPP’s Chief Technical Adviser stressed the importance of understanding international market needs and building innovation capabilities. IPP will specifically focus on these areas.
In the workshop session, IPP’s Senior Innovation Adviser, Mr. Riku Mäkelä presented IPP’s approach and offering stating that IPP is above all an initiator of partnerships both nationally and internationally; an accelerator of new innovative projects and entrepreneurship; and a broker for increased innovation capabilities in Vietnam. During its three-and-a-half-year lifespan, IPP will co-organise frequent events in Vietnam and the ASEAN area; it will provide training and seed funding for new innovative companies and actors in the provinces that are supporting these companies; and it will develop a national innovation curriculum which will first be piloted by organising a high reputation Innovation Fellowship Program for 20 individuals starting in May 2015. IPP is now requesting Expressions of Interest for the Fellowship Program and for its upcoming grant calls scheduled to open in early 2015. For interested teams, IPP is organising two rounds of co-creation events in January-March in four cities: Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho and Da Nang.