Hanoi, July 26th, 2023 – The Social Open Innovation Village, a part of TechFest Vietnam 2023, organized by the Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD United Way Vietnam) in collaboration with United Way Worldwide and Swinburne Vietnam, partnered with the Nation Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Development (NATEC) and the National Startup Support Center (NSSC), to host the workshop “Circular Economy – Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Business trend”. The event was sponsored by Shinhan Square Bridge Vietnam and is one of the key events of Techfest 2023. The workshop aimed to share and promote the trend of entrepreneurship towards a circular economy, creating social impact, and bringing economic and sustainable business benefits to enterprises.
Nowadays, it is undeniable that the development of science and technology has brought significant benefits, making human life better, more convenient, and easier. However, this progress also brings serious challenges, such as resource depletion, environmental pollution, and climate change. In the context of an economy requiring recovery while also pursuing sustainable development goals, the importance of the “Circular Economy” is highlighted, especially concerning sustainable entrepreneurship and business models. The concept of the “Circular Economy” is introduced as a solution to improve and address the aforementioned issues. The circular economy is understood as an economic model where design, production, and services aim to prolong the lifespan of materials and eliminate negative impacts on the environment.
Therefore, the workshop “Circular Economy – Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Business trend” was organized to discuss and promote collaborative exchanges among relevant parties regarding experimentation, orientation, and solutions for building a circular economy. The goal was to create a more sustainable economic system that balances economic development and ensures sustainable development objectives. Additionally, the workshop aimed to inspire and encourage entrepreneurial ventures to seek innovative methods for resource utilization and the creation of new products and services that contribute to the national economy. Through discussions on the circular economy, concrete and practical activities were expected to encourage the development of sustainable entrepreneurship and business trends. The event served as a platform for meaningful exchanges, fostering a culture of sustainable innovation and contributing to a more sustainable future.
The workshop was honored to have the participation of several distinguished individuals, including: Mr. Phạm Hồng Quất – Director of the Nation Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Development (NATEC), Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr. Phạm Dũng Nam – Director of the National Startup Support Center (NSSC), Mr. Lê Toàn Thắng – Deputy Director of NSSC, Mr. Sun Sukkun – Project Owner of Shinhan Square Bridge, Shinhan Financial Group Hope Foundation, Mr. Hoàng Nam Tiến – Vice Chairman of FPT University Council, Ms. Nguyễn Phương Linh – Director of MSD United Way Vietnam, Head of the Social Open Innovation Village, Ms. Hooyung Young – Vice President of United Way Worldwide for Southeast Asia, South Korea, and Japan, Head of the Village and many experts in circular economy, representatives from Vietnamese and South Korean startup enterprises and more than 70 delegates.
Mr. Pham Hong Quat shared: “I am sincerely grateful to the Social Open Innovation Village for initiating such a relevant topic on the Circular Economy. I especially appreciate the diverse audience attending today’s event, which includes not only large enterprises, investors, and experts but also many young participants. I firmly believe that together, we are contributing to Vietnam’s transformation and transition towards sustainable entrepreneurship and business practices.”
Mr. Sun Sukkun – Project Owner of Shinhan Square Bridge, Shinhan Financial Group Hope Foundation, the main sponsor of the Social Open Innovation Village, stated: “The circular economy simply means extending the lifespan of materials while giving them a second life that would otherwise be considered waste. This process requires implementing measures such as intelligent design, rational use, recycling, and reusing to optimize material usage. Shinhan Square Bridge is a collaboration and joint effort of startup enterprises to address social issues. We are highly interested in investing in and supporting entrepreneurial initiatives that create social value, including the Circular Economy. As a corporation, we are committed to promoting green and sustainable business initiatives, which not only bring profits and reputation to the companies but also contribute to long-term development. This is a trend that startup enterprises should grasp and embrace.”
With a spirit of collaboration and development, Mr. Hoàng Nam Tiến – Vice Chairman of FPT University Council, inspired the businesses and participants at the workshop. He shared intriguing stories with the youth about his experiences in promoting the circular economy, and particularly, he instilled inspiration in the young audience. He said, “I have faith in the youth. Gen Z is dynamic and has the right to demand and deserve a life, a greener and more modern planet. Each young person also has the opportunity to unleash their potential to become green entrepreneurs, driving changes, and becoming the “guru” in their respective fields.“
Representing the Social Open Innovation Village, Ms. Nguyễn Phương Linh – Director of MSD United Way Vietnam, Head of the Village, shared: “To promote the Circular Economy, we must dispel misconceptions about it being just a recycling process or a temporary trend, even used as a superficial facade by large corporations rather than startup enterprises. In reality, the Circular Economy is not just about recycling; it is an opportunity for businesses to develop sustainably, create value, and grow through efficient resource utilization. Moreover, we should recognize that the Circular Economy is not limited to large corporations; it is a widespread and practical trend in the modern era, attracting the attention of investors and consumers. Open Innovation and the Circular Economy mutually support each other in building a sustainable and prosperous future, reducing waste and environmental pollution, while generating value and sustainable development for society and businesses. The Social Open Innovation Village will connect relevant parties within a united and collaborative ecosystem to promote innovations and solutions in the direction of the Circular Economy.“
In the third part of the workshop, during the panel discussion titled “Trends and Challenges in Promoting Entrepreneurship and Business in the Circular Economy in Vietnam,” the panelists had the opportunity to discuss the development landscape of the circular economy in Vietnam, as well as the opportunities and challenges for startup enterprises. Additionally, valuable lessons on management and direction for sustainable and circular businesses were also shared and discussed.
The workshop concluded with a message emphasizing the importance of unity, collaboration, and multidisciplinary approaches in embracing the spirit of open innovation and the circular economy as essential prerequisites to address challenges for sustainable development. In the year 2023, with the sponsorship and guidance of NATEC, NSSC, the Social Open Innovation Village led by MSD United Way Vietnam, in collaboration with United Way Worldwide and Swinburne Vietnam, promises to continue its efforts in connecting relevant stakeholders to support startup enterprises and organizations engaged in open innovation. These collective efforts aim to enhance capabilities for a circular and developing economy in Vietnam.