Vietnam – The Rising Tiger

I was joined by Rong in Vietnam for a few days in mid-August, to attend Blockchain Connect by JobHopin. We took the opportunity to also meet with different start-up founders and ecosystem builders in Ho Chi Minh City. 

18.08.2022 Blockchain Connect

The blockchain connect event was a huge success with people coming from all over Vietnam, gathering in the basement of Jobhopin’s villa to hear about how we can adopt web3 to shape a sustainable, humanity-centric, and decentralised future. The turnout was great despite the rain earlier in the day, so good that we ran out of food too quickly, (haha)!

Queue at the check-in counter
Refreshments for the networking session
Seats filling up quick

In our presentation, we shared about the “New Civilisation” vision that we want to work towards and invited like-minded individuals to connect and join our movement. We also expressed our view of how important the community is for Audacity as well as Terraformers.

Rong sharing on the new civilisation
Shuen sharing on the new civilisation

We were joined by Mr. Hieu Bui, Chief Product Officer of Hectagon Finance. His presentation was one of the best I have heard so far in the Web3 space. He broke down difficult jargons very clearly and coherently communicated his rationale behind the start-up which made it easy to understand his project. It was my honour to meet such a superb storyteller and to be on the same panel as him where he offered very valuable insights on DAO governance for community building.

Mr Hieu Bui sharing on Hectagon Finance

One of the most impressionable topic that was discussed was who the ‘police’ would be for web 3 where there is nothing stopping a community from being organised around a “bad” cause. We think that Hieu offered the insight that good and bad were merely about perspectives. We ourselves hold the opinion that if someone wanted to do “bad”, they would find a way regardless of web3. Technology has to keep evolving, but what we do with it is shaped by education. 

Another key event I attended was a Future Founders Competition at RMIT University. The challenge statement was reimagining tourism to promote positive social, environmental, and/or economic impact in our home, Vietnam. As a co-founder of Terraformers, a regenerative travel start-up, I was immediately excited by the opportunity to attend this hackathon. What stood out most to me was the emphasis on positive social and environmental impact and the deliberate phrasing that places economic impact secondary to social and environmental impact. This is definitely an environment to find like-minded individuals for Terraformers.

Future Founders Pitch @ RMIT HCMC
The auditorium filled with young entrepreneurs

Following the hackathon, I joined Rusydi from Reactor.school in a networking lunch with the career office at RMIT. RMIT is the only private university in Ho Chi Minh, which gives them more freedom in designing curriculums. Over lunch, a key issue that was discussed was the continuity beyond the competition for student entrepreneurs. A common behaviour would be to split the money between team members and forget about the project. This would result in a waste of ideas, and passion. We faced a similar problem running Prototypical last year and could be something we can work more closely with institutions on, to generate more lasting support for young entrepreneurs.

Networking with the career office

Other meetings we had with start-up founders and impact/startup communities were also very fruitful. 

A key start-up community we were introduced to is the Startup Vietnam Foundation which was around since 2011. Given their experience in this field, they provided great insights into how ecosystem-building activities could be structured. The methodology they use is split into 4 steps, community building, capacity building, collaboration ecosystem, and self-sustainable ecosystem. In addition, they shared the importance of tailoring strategies to each province, which would then offer the best support which is relevant to the locals in that province, hence creating a larger impact. These insights offered a sneak peek into what we could possibly grow into while maintaining our own value proposition. 

Some future collaborations that are in the pipeline would be: 

  1. Partners networking day with New Energy Nexus across Vietnam (March 2023) 
  2. Climate cafe sessions with Earth Ventures 
  3. TechFest 2022 with Startup Vietnam Foundation 

Definitely not forgetting other fun and meaningful meet-ups with startups. Rong and I are bad at remembering to take photos so we’ve only got photos with Akather, an educational metaverse. We would also be following up with the different founders we have met at the event and on this trip. 

Group photo with Akather at JobHopin’s office
Rong trying out the VR education kit

Once again, we are grateful to the community for actively sharing networks and the trips just get better each time!

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