Last question, what advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to launch a startup in Vietnam?
You must work with Source of Asia!
More seriously, first, and because I’ve seen a lot of solo entrepreneurs, an entrepreneurship journey is complicated. So, try as soon as possible to find a co-founder. Someone that is complementary to you. If you have a lot of energy, someone who’s calm, if you are tech focused, someone who is business focus; try to balance your team. I don’t recommend being alone because the entrepreneur journey is a lot of ups and downs. So, when it’s time to celebrate, it’s good to celebrate with your team and when you’re in a very low-energy period, it’s also good not to be alone. But maybe that’s more a general rule.
Plus, finding local partners is key, both for Vietnamese entrepreneurs and in particular when you’re a foreign entrepreneur; when we started our journey here, it was key for Schoolab to increase the business opportunity, to find the right partners who shared the same values.
Also, take the time to understand the motivation, the frustration of the end-users, and all the different stakeholders involved. You must pay attention because, in Vietnam, you shouldn’t jump straight into business. Take the time to build trust and strong relationships with your partners, clients, and collaborators, via dinners, and drinks. But you must create this trust with the people you interact with.
Also, you need to collaborate with legal and admin experts; it enables you to focus on your business and it’s always better to be handled by experts.
Last but not least, focus on creating a positive impact on the environment and society; it is easy for people to blame Vietnam for being polluted and not being one of the cleanest countries in the world… However, if we look at the companies manufacturing and producing in Vietnam, most of them are big multinationals. But at the same time, there are many things to do around education, building awareness, and making sustainability accessible. So, let’s make Vietnam green!