The Proof of Concept (PoC) Competition bootcamp gathered 24 eco-entrepreneurs, 8 mentoring sessions, and 1 common green goal in Ho Chi Minh City’s Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel over the second week of the month (10 to 13 October 2014). Acting as the first bootcamp in the series organized by by infoDev / World Bank’s Climate Technology Program (CTP), in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), it marks the start of the first local clean tech generation.
In the same sentiment, the sessions were kicked off by Komix’s Dr. Vo Quoc Khanh as he expounded on the tips of entrepreneurship within the Vietnamese sector. Using the ease of the common mother tongue, he revved up the participants and forwarded the attention onto the next discussion, an interesting merge of various outlooks on the clean technology field. The group on stage consisted of Jin Lee, the Climate Innovation Associate of infoDev ; Dinesh Shivanna, consultant to the ADB; and Huynh Kim Tuoc, Chairman of Red Sun Energy. One of the more prominent points of the conversation highlighted the role of the Vietnam Climate Innovation Centre for the participants in light of the technology currently practiced. “We are here to connect the VCIC projects to other technologies,” Lee shared, “What is outdated technology? Being outdated means being at the start. What the VCIC can do is help you at the start and bring the technology back here. If we can help you with the growth, the curve is easy.”
Highlights after lunch included a “Business Model Canvas and Business Case” session by Innovation Partners’ Chris Zobrist and YN1K’s Truc Dao Phan as they moved on to interactive activities translating the structures behind investor-friendly business profiles and consumer definitions, and ADB’s consultant Daniel Hersson sharing his pitching experience to prepare participants for their individual pitches the upcoming day. “You can do all the research, but nothing beats a good or bad experience,” he said, stressing the importance of practice and making mistakes now (in comparison to later events).
The next day jumped straight into a monetary session with LGT Venture Philanthropy’s Investment Manager Shuyin Tang as she shared alternate views on fund raising, both from the funder and fundee’s points of view. The current trend saw investors looking out for startups with tangible “skin in the game”, or when startups invest personal capital into their projects primarily. World Bank’s consultant Linh Pham echoed this point as she shared her own lean startup experience and linked it to the 100-Day Action Plan, created as a skeleton guide for all the candidates to continue their projects beyond the bootcamp duration.
With coaching over the two days, the next steps for the participants straight after the Closing Session included mentoring rotations with available mentors and experts, and the final pitch sessions held for all to take the stage. From Vietnam Eco Solution’s physical Solarbox product to Di Chung’s carpooling future, the pitches showcased the potential of local venture into advocating climate change for the betterment of the nation. As one of the candidates, Future Technology Vietnam, proclaimed, “We cannot make the time go faster, but we can make the future come sooner!”