Hatch.vn, Hanoi’s newest incubator, has finally unveiled its website and is gearing up for its first event, a weekly coffee talk centered on entrepreneurship. With a fresh new startup incubator intent on looking beyond just technology, I was eager to speak with their co-founder, Mr. Le Viet Dat.What is the goal behind Hatch?
LVD: Our vision is to build up the community of entrepreneurs in Vietnam; to connect entrepreneurs in any sector to resources so their startups have improved chances of success. Outside the general goal, we specifically want to host the Hatch! Startup Fair. It will be an annual event, and the first of its kind in Vietnam. In the future we imagine the model used in other developing countries, because we are passionate about sustainable entrepreneurship development in general.Who came up with the idea? How did it start?
LVD: Hatch is a not-for-profit initiative which sprung from the imagination of the staff and interns working at Alpine Creative, a newly formed business accelerator and creative company based in Hanoi. Hatch came to life based on the premise that entrepreneurs strengthen economies and societies. Entrepreneurs in Vietnam need more support, not only in the form of capital and business services, but also in the form of mentorship, access to best practices, and genuine encouragement. Alpine Creative is a new company, and [when] formed its staff and interns realized that there are so many myths around entrepreneurship, and many startups become confused about what to focus on. It’s hard to get objective advice! It’s hard to know where to begin! It’s easy to forget important activities. We want to clear up all the myths, provide mentorship and consultation to all startups.
Furthermore, we found many startup resources in the IT sector, but what about all the entrepreneurs in other industries? For example, 70 percent of the Vietnamese population still works in agriculture-related industries. We imagine an ordinary person, such as a farmer, could become an effective entrepreneur. That being said, our founder lived in Silicon Valley from the 1980s to 2005, so we know first-hand how technology now forms a backbone for nearly all business.What do you hope to have achieved by this time next year?
LVD: Primarily, we expect to look back on having hosted the first multi-sector, world-class quality startup fair in Vietnam. This time next year we’ll be thick into the follow-up and monitoring activities of supporting the selected organizations from the Hatch Startup Fair. Before this time next year, we will have built a go-to online and offline community platform for entrepreneurs in Vietnam so that our members can constantly exchange information, and connect to each other and to many different resources at the same time. We have a connection through the Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs Association which will help us to realize our goal: to disseminate information about Hatch even into the smallest hamlet, in all 63 provinces. We won’t just be an urban incubator.
LVD: In the course of operating Alpine Creative, we had already worked with startups with enough capital to implement everything in their plans, and we also also worked with startups with no capital. Some startups are bold with a solid idea and business model, but some struggle with viability, no knowing where to begin the rigorous process to bring an idea to life. We think that many startups need knowledge from experienced industry-specific managers or entrepreneurs. We think that incubation should not be limited to any particular process, kind, time, or place. However, we think that startups that fit specific industries are the ones most need.What kind of experience and skills is your team bringing to the startup community?
LVD: A humbleness to utilize the experiences and skills of everyone around us to build up the startup community. We know that, whoever we are, we cannot go far if we go alone, we need to work together with everyone else. And it is also the key message we want to deliver to the community through Hatch. The founding team includes a 20-year veteran in marketing and brand communications from Landor, which, in over 70 years, has established itself as the world’s most accomplished brand identity consultant; a 15-year veteran in business consulting, economic development, and former general secretariat of Vietnam Young Business Association, a top-in-class senior-year student at National University, and a top-in-class senior-year student at the Foreign Trade University, as well as committed interns.We have been researching incubation models all around the world, and we keep up to date about startup philosophy. We want to bring that perspective to young startups who may not have the exposure they need to think big. We realize that each mentor will bring their own unique value when it comes to startup support, and it takes someone who has started a company in order to be able to understand what a start-up would need. At the moment, we are growing our team to bring the most holistic incubation we can to all types of startups.
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