Singapore incubator BLOCK71 expands into Ho Chi Minh City

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NOVEMBER 25, 2019 - 6:49 PM

STARTUPS in Singapore and Vietnam can now look forward to a new incubation space in Ho Chi Minh City to kickstart their entrepreneurial journey in both countries.

Singapore's NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS), is partnering Vietnamese property developer Becamex IDC Corporation to establish its eighth BLOCK71 in Vietnam.

A memorandum of understanding was signed on Monday by Professor Freddy Boey, NUS deputy president for innovation and enterprise, and Becamex chairman Nguyen Van Hung at the Horasis Asia Meeting in Binh Duong New City.

The joint initiative will support a two-way flow of talent, technologies and start-ups with the aim of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship development in both countries, a joint press statement from NUS and and Becamex said.

This means Vietnamese and Singapore startups would be able to use BLOCK71's global network of resources and contacts to kickstart their entrepreneurial journey and gain access to international markets. At the same time, the initiative will facilitate greater information exchange, connectivity and access to programmes between Singapore, Vietnam and the region, the statement said.

It added that Vietnam is the third most active start-up ecosystem in Asean, behind Singapore and Indonesia, with a reported six-fold increase in invested capital in technology deals in the last two years.

BLOCK71 takes its name from a formerly disused industrial building in Ayer Rajah industrial estate in Singapore, which was later transformed into space to nurture the local tech start-up community. It has since been established in San Francisco, Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta in Indonesia and two locations in Suzhou, China.

"This new BLOCK71 in Vietnam will enable entrepreneurs and innovators to access new markets, provide NUS students with interesting internship placements, and provide information and access to technology innovation and entrepreneurship programmes and courses available in Singapore," Prof Boey said in the statement.

The joint statement said both NUS Enterprise and Becamex will work closely in Vietnam to cultivate a vibrant and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem and build bridges for business development in Vietnam and beyond.

Mr Nguyen said: "We also welcome global start-ups who aspire to venture into Vietnam’s thriving market and gain access to local tech talents. This is an essential part of our larger strategy to facilitate the transition of Vietnam’s economy from labour-intensive to technology and knowledge activities."

BLOCK71 will help entrepreneurs in terms of giving them access to global networks and markets, incubation support, opportunities to pilot business ideas and to participate in start-up related events like competitions and conferences, the statement said.