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Student start-up innovation for older persons and people with disability in the COVID-19 and new normal context in Vietnam

Hanoi, 18 June 2021: Students from some 2,000 vocational education and training institutions across Vietnam are inspired to showcase their innovation and projects a robust application of science and technology, particularly digital technologies in the provision of goods and services to support and care for older persons and people with disabilities in the COVID-19 and new normal context.

 

The competition Start-up Kite 2021: Start-ups Innovation in Industry 4.0 for Older People and People with Disability was launched in Hanoi today by the Directorate of Vocational Education and Training, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), and the United Nations Population Fund – UNFPA, which was funded by the Government of Japan. All students studying at any vocational education and training institutions in Vietnam will be eligible to enter the competition either as individual candidates or as a team of up to 5 members. 

 

Since 2020, Start-up Kite is a national Start-up Competition which has been organized by MOLISA under the National Master Plan “Supporting Student entrepreneurship until 2025”, which aims at inspiring students vocational education and training institutions to develop their creativity and dynamic mind-set, creating a favourable platform for students to showcase their innovation and gain skills, knowledge and experience in business planning, development and management, and facilitating greater private sector involvement for the care of the older persons within the framework of public-private partnerships (PPP).

 

The MOLISA Vice Minister Mr Le Tan Dung said at the launching ceremony: “Start-up KITE is a playground for students from the technical and vocational education and training institutions. I call on the students with your devotion to your future career to explore solutions and applications of science and technology in solving social issues. I also encourage enterprises and investors across the country to continue supporting the vocational education and training to achieve their goal of providing high quality human resources for national innovative development.”

 

So far Vietnam has made a lot of efforts in containing the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the impacts of the pandemic have critically affected the livelihood and health of the Vietnamese people and particularly the vulnerable populations, including the older persons and people with disabilities. It is expected that the competition will constitute initial steps in digital transformation to ensure dedicated and uninterrupted care and social security for older people and people with disabilities to protect them from the pandemic and in the new normal context.

 

UNFPA in in partnership with MOLISA in organising the competition Start-up Kite 2021 as part of UNFPA’s implementation of the project “Mitigating COVID-19 Impacts on Vulnerable Populations - Ensuring National Progress to Achieve SDGs in Viet Nam”, which is financed by the Government of Japan. UNFPA Vietnam delivers the project in partnership with the Government partners, the UN agencies, and other relevant stakeholders, for the period from April 2021 to March 2022.

 

Addressing the launching ceremony, Minister Okabe from the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam said: “To realize the ‘inclusive society’, especially for those vulnerable people, the young generation in the digital era will play major roles. As the Vietnamese government has set out, digital transformation can be a driving force to change the society, which includes the betterment of the life of elderly people and people with disabilities. Therefore, I believe that this event gives a nice opportunity for the young and elderly generation to collaborate in a lot of aspects.”

 

UNFPA Vietnam has over the past years focused its attention and support to the vulnerable populations, including older persons, particularly elderly women. People above 60 years old are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, as their risk of developing severe conditions and fatality is higher. 95% of the elderly population have underlying, and chronic, health conditions, which make them susceptible to the negative effect of the pandemic. Social distancing and other COVID-19 related prevention and protection measures could also mean reduced staff availability in institutional care facilities for older persons.

 

In her speech, UNFPA Vietnam Representative Ms Naomi Kitahara said that like pregnant women, health and care services have often been interrupted for old people, posing particular challenges for those elderly people with disabilities. Social distancing could also mean isolation of the elderly, making it more difficult to obtain essential information, goods and services.

 

Ms Naomi Kitahara added: Responding to population ageing and meeting the needs of older persons require the application of a life-cycle approach, which include addressing the issues of the current and future older persons, helping younger people to prepare for old age and an aged society, and promoting intergenerational linkages in digital transformation to ensure social inclusion in achieving healthy and active ageing. UNFPA is very privileged to be able to be a linking pin between young and old people in Vietnam.”

 

The Start-up Kite 2021 is structured into three rounds and the final round will be in November 2021. A training course for candidates who are selected to the final round and other interested students/teams will be organized prior to the final round to equip the students with essential knowledge about start-ups, development of a business plan and necessary skills to call for investment.

The training will be organized offline (for about 50 students) and online (open to interested students from the vocational education and training institutions) by the Department of Student Affairs, Directorate of Vocational Education and Training with technical support from UNFPA, college lecturers and entrepreneurs as trainers, and last year’s winners to share their experience.

In addition, Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs' Association and the Red Star Entrepreneurs' Club will be partners with Start-up Kite 2021 to provide mentoring.

Winning individuals/team will receive a Start-up Grant as follows:

  • 1 first prize: Start-up Grant of VND20,000,000
  • 2 second prizes: Start-up Grant of VND15,000,000 each
  • 2 third prizes: Start-up Grant of VND10,000,000 each
  • 30 consolation prizes: Start-up Grant of VND5,000,000 each

 

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For further information, please contact: 

Ms. Dinh Thu Huong | UNFPA Communications 

Email:  dhuong@unfpa.org | Tel: 0913301539

 

Mr. Nguyễn Văn Công

Students’ Affairs Department, Directorate of Vocational Education and Training

Email: congnv@molisa.gov.vn | Tel: 090618 18 86