Small and medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam constitute 97 percent of operational businesses contributing 45 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP). They are important contributors to economic growth and employment. However, with rising environmental concerns, it is essential to develop modern technologies that help these businesses reduce their environmental impact. Energy efficiency and the circular economy are two key drivers in the twin transition that can help SMEs in Vietnam to achieve this goal.
Vietnamese SMEs face difficulties to access green technologies from big corporations due to constraints on resources, therefore, solutions from start-ups can be the key. Start-ups play a crucial role in driving innovation and economic growth in Vietnam. However, early-stage impact-driven startups are particularly vulnerable and face significant challenges in developing quality expertise, funding and other resources. That is why the Green Tech Incubator, funded by the BMZ and implemented by the GIZ Digital Transformation Center Vietnam in collaboration with Vietnam’s National Innovation Center of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, provides capacity building for early green tech start-ups in Vietnam.
The Green Tech Incubator is holistic in its approach by combining the expertise of mentors specializing in circular economy and energy, real-world business problems collected from a survey of 5.000 SMEs, and an assessment from Ventures Capital (VC). Out of 46 start-ups that applied to the program, 20 joined the boot camp. Only twelve successfully were admitted for the 4-month incubation and finally presented their products on the Demo Day to the business and VC community.
By the end of March 2023, the Green Tech Incubator has concluded with the Demo Day in Hanoi, selecting the six best start-ups. Collaborating with the Green Tech Incubator, SAP supports six winning start-ups with a total cash prize of 15.000 US-Dollar and an Amazon Web Services credit package. At the end of the program, the following six start-ups received the price:
IoTeamVN is the winning team of the Green Tech Incubator Demo Day. Their Energy Monitoring Service/Solution (EMSS) is aimed at meeting the growing demand for efficient energy management. The lack of visibility of energy consumption data is a real-world challenge IoTeamVN has identified, which leads to high energy costs. However, their solution offers advantages such as reduced energy consumption and costs.
Solano – the runner-up is founded by a team of Vietnamese Oxford and Cambridge engineers, working toward accessible renewable energy for everyone. The core model is selling hardware with a capacity of generating and storing solar energy at extremely affordable prices to cover the residential market and using software to connect them to a marketplace platform for energy trading. Solano’s first key market is Vietnam.
Mana.st – the third-ranking start-up is creating reed-based circular economy products: It processes Roots into reed tea, reed bodies into straws, reed leaves into noodles, reed flowers into handicrafts; and the remaining reeds are made into biomass, biochar, and especially, bio-fuel wood pallets combined with other agricultural waste.
MultiMeter Machine, Carbon Solution International, and Ecofa all share the 4th prize.
MultiMeter Machine combines hardware, software, and artificial intelligence to track the consumption of water and electricity. It’s clients are companies, buildings and households. It can also measure additional parameters like temperature and flow of the utilities in the pipelines and send them directly to the utility’s provider.
Carbon Solutions International (CSI) provides services including carbon footprint calculations, training & auditing, project development and implementation as well as carbon credits generation and trading. The main product they developed through the incubator is biochar processing technology, proven as an effective means of carbon sequestration. Biochar can be generated from organic waste and by-products from agricultural and industrial sectors e.g., sewage sludge, rice, or coffee husks.
Ecofa – established in 2021 in Nghe An Province – has been operating in the field of agriculture and natural fiber production. They build a green, circular and closed economic model on the pineapple ecosystem in Vietnam. Ecofa turns agricultural waste into a new 100 percent plant-based material as an input for the fashion and materials industry, which contributes to reducing the risk of environmental pollution, promotes local economic development and creates livelihoods for farmers.
The Demo Day as a final event of Green Tech Incubator took place at a nice and cozy coworking space by end of March 2023 at Hanoi (Vietnam) with the participation of many journalists, investors, SMEs as well as corporate partners.
Following Green Tech Incubator, Green Tech Landing Pad is our next phase of Green Tech Hub, a group of projects implemented by Digital Transformation Center under GIZ in Vietnam. This aims at connecting international start-ups with Vietnam companies in promoting green tech applications as well as expansion to the worldwide market. Green Tech Landing Pad is planned to start from May to November 2023.