During the fourth Covid-19 wave, Vietnam has witnessed a multitude of homegrown startups, who are doing their best to turn this crisis into an opportunity – not just to keep themselves afloat, but to help customers and other businesses ride out the pandemic, standing side by side with the Government to tackle the biggest challenges.
Now more than ever, it’s time for Vietnamese startups to step up to the plate and demonstrate agility and innovation to solve the disruption brought on by Covid-19.
SME digitalization to build back better
Covid-19 has stressed the need to accelerate SME digitalization. However, most Vietnamese SMEs are ill-prepared for a radical transformation on such short notice, since they have been operating on an offline model for generations and are unfamiliar with digital tools.
This lack of digital literacy is a hurdle. Aware of these difficulties, Vietnam’s one-hour-delivery e-commerce startup Loship has committed to facilitating the digitization of SMEs and mom-and-pop stores. These efforts include tools and initiatives to ease the transition for brick-and-mortar businesses that have been struggling to go online. Merchants can now easily build an online store and get it up and running on the Loship platform in 24 hours.
Loship stated that there were currently 250,000 merchants on its platform, 90% of which are SMEs. Almost 80,000 retail stores have joined the Loship platform in the past year. The startup’s long-term goal is to bring 1 million local merchants online, helping them build a strong digital presence and long-term resilience. SMEs are the backbone of Vietnam’s economy and helping them capture the growing online market will positively benefit everyone.
“SME digitalization is recognized as a priority by the Vietnamese government, and through our efforts, we hope to help these SMEs navigate this new normal and ensure they are included in the growing digital economy. We also hope our efforts in supporting the online transition play an important role to assist the Government in maintaining economic stability during and after the pandemic,” Loship CEO Trung Hoang Nguyen told Vietnam Insider.
E-governance in response to Covid-19
The Vietnamese government was already committed to digital transformation, even before the pandemic. However, Covid-19 has presented a monumental challenge to Vietnam’s emergent e-governance. Consequently, e-government initiatives are becoming more urgent and critical than ever.
In response to this increasing demand, FPT (Vietnam’s leading IT corporation) and Base.vn (Vietnam’s SaaS platform startup acquired by FPT) have discussed and are working with governmental organizations on projects to promote digital transformation in each locality.
“We help localities increase the rate of document processing, digitize all public services and administrative procedures in the fields of finance, banking, agriculture, health, etc., offer easily accessible, round-the-clock digital information and services to Vietnamese citizens, thereby contributing to improving transparency and work efficiency,” shared Tran Van Vien, Co-Founder & Southern Regional Director at Base.vn.
What’s more, FPT and Base.vn have been coordinating with authorities to support the local business community in navigating through the pandemic. The two companies have developed eCovax, a digital solutions package that facilitates digital working environments. eCovax features several ready-made solutions that enable paperless, uninterrupted, and touchless operations, using online contract signing, digital documentation, virtual assistance, and more. “I hope this support will help the business community emerge stronger from the crisis and contribute to the country’s economic recovery,” shared the FPT representative.
Telemedicine to connect doctors and patients
Since the end of July, Ho Chi Minh City has allowed asymptomatic patients to be quarantined at home. Realizing the urgent need of thousands of patients in need of telemedicine support as well as the pressure on the medical force, Help Me! project was born to serve the community for free.
Help Me! was jointly developed by four Vietnamese companies and startups, including: Got It! (AI-based Knowledge-as-a-Service platform), STEAM for Vietnam, Kompa Group (big data and artificial intelligence company), and Filum (business data platform). Help Me! is a free community connection platform to connect doctors with people in need of remote healthcare consultations while social distancing measures are in place.
With the platform, medical volunteers can provide support around the clock. Bringing into play the time and expertise of doctors across Vietnam will significantly reduce the load on the national health system in general, and medical facilities in pandemic-hit areas in particular.
Not just limited to health issues, emotional trauma and anxiety due to Covid-19 are also on the rise. As such, in addition to medical advice, Help Me! also helps with mental health support and other specialized counseling for specific groups such as pregnant women, the elderly with chronic diseases, people with disabilities, people with underlying diseases, etc.
“Through Help Me! platform, Got It! together with more than 200 Vietnamese volunteers around the world hope to contribute to the Government’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19, by applying technological solutions to reduce the burden on the frontline health system,” shared Hung Tran, Founder of Got It! and Co-founder of Help Me! Project.
The Covid-19 crisis is causing hardship for everyone around the world. However, there can be bright places even in dark times. Adversity can spur innovation, and in times like these, purpose-led startups have a vital role to play. If tech startups can quickly manage to do what they do best and know where to innovate, they can not only save their companies but also support their Government in the fight to end the pandemic.
By My Duyen