Eastern International University in the process of forming a startup ecosystem in Binh Duong and the region


I/ Binh Duong – Smart City – “Triple Helix Model” – Start-up ecosystem

On May 18, 2016, the Prime Minister signed Decision No. 844 / QD-TTg approving the project “Supporting national innovation start-up ecosystem to 2025”. The project aims at creating a favorable environment to promote and support the process of formation and development of fast-growing businesses based on the exploitation of intellectual property, technology and new business models. At the same time, urgently complete the legal system that supports start-up innovation, creating impetus to build a startup nation (1), in the context of deeper and deeper international economic integration.

There have been many approaches to the concept of a “startup ecosystem”, but in general there are many similarities; For example, according to Prof. Colin Mason and Dr. Ross Brown, in the original of his “Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Growth Oriented Entrepreneurship” (2), published by OECD 2014, the “entrepreneurial ecosystem” is the sum of six core areas: Policy (national governance & legal system); Finance; Culture; Supports; Human Capital and Markets.

Diagram (1)

Meanwhile, according to WEF Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Report (3) 2013, it includes 8 core areas: Market; Human Resources; Capital and financial resources; Start-up support system (mentors, advisors, & etc); Legal framework and infrastructure; Universities, institutions, and the National culture.

Diagram (2)

Meanwhile, according to WEF Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Report (3) 2013, it includes 8 core areas: Market; Human Resources; Capital and financial resources; Start-up support system (mentors, advisors, & etc); Legal framework and infrastructure; Universities, institutions, and the National culture.

Diagram (3): Relationships between attributes within entrepreneurial ecosystems (Spigel, 2015)

In the various approaches mentioned above, whether divided into 6 or 8 core areas or not, ultimately these areas, can be attributed to responsibility / duty / dedication, the natural way of having three institutions: the Government (at the national level) / The local government (at the local level); businesses and Universities / Research Institutes. Settling smoothly and harmoniously in promoting the combined strength of these three institutions will create a great impetus for socio-economic development; That is the basic philosophy of the “Three Houses” model, including the State – Schools – Entrepreneurs.

Speaking of Project “Smart City Binh Duong”, we must mention Eindhoven – a sister city of Binh Duong – in the Netherlands. Why? Thanks to the early research and application of the “Three Houses” model, in 2011 Eindhoven was recognized as the smartest city in the world by the ICF (5) in 2011. Louis Zacharilla, Co – founder of ICF briefly reviewed Eindhoven: “Eindhoven is the model for a new way of thinking about collaboration and regional development. It has developed an ecosystem that links its private sector, government and its academic and creative communities in a way that looks like an economic ‘triple helix.”

From this inspiration and with the traditional relationship, Binh Duong signed a close cooperation with Eindhoven, and that is the basis for when the  Binh Duong People’s Committee approved the “Smart City Project” (6) on November 21, 2016, in which the specific action plan named “Binh Duong Navigator 2021 with a vision to 2030”. The main content is the detailed guidance on the implementation of “Binh Duong Smart City Project”, identify and assign specific programs of action needed in the fields of: Labor force; Research and Development: Enterprises, Business Relationship, Environment, Quality of Life, and the Infrastructure. In which human is the central element. Also in this plan, the “Triple Helix” model is considered as a levering tool, to promote the formation of a “startup ecosystem” suitable to the actual conditions of Binh Duong.

II/ Eastern International University – Triple Helix model – Start-up ecosystem

According to the above analysis, regardless of the angle of view (the model “Triple Helix” or “Startup ecosystem”), the University also plays a role as a core constituent and a resource provider for the remaining fields to establish a “startup ecosystem”.

Eastern International University is a corporate run institution, invested and operated by Becamex IDC – a state corporation that has made many important contributions through more than two decades, successfully building Binh Duong from a locality that previously had a predominantly agricultural-forestry economy to becoming a leading industrialized province in the country. Therefore, besides the main task of teaching and researching, it is obvious that Eastern International University needs and actually took the initiative and stood at the forefront of the University in the “Triple Helix” model, right from concept creation stage, with the responsibility to create a “startup ecosystem” itself, which deserves to become a “core element” in a larger, “startup ecosystem” in Binh Duong and the region.

In order to achieve the goal of creating a self-made “entrepreneurial ecosystem”, Eastern International University has focused and implemented:

(a) Train lecturers and incorporate the subject “Entrepreneurship” into the training program, with the goal of providing knowledge and training – encouragement – creating conditions to arouse and build a “entrepreneurial spirit” for students (paying special attention to students of the Faculty of Business Administration and the School of Engineering); which, according to Carl Schramm Economist, is a key competitive advantage along with innovation – new technological innovations are the source of productivity and growth for a business, a nation (7). ).

(b) Invest in building an environment for innovative start-up spaces such as Business Incubators (Becamex Business Incubators); Technology Laboratory (TechLab); Manufacturing laboratory (FabLab); Lighting laboratories (LightingLab) and practical laboratories of creative ideas (Living Lab). These facilities are expanded to share with teachers, students of Eastern International University, startups and everyone else.

(c) Develope “expanding” the Library into a shared open database repository

(d) Compulsory internships for students at the University campus, at Becamex subsidiaries and at appropriate businesses in the industrial zones developed by Becamex. Sponsoring research-oriented projects for teachers and students.

According to the Founder Institute (8), in establishing the “Startup ecosystem”, the university plays an important role in all three main stages 1-2-3 (of startup innovation): Forming ideas (Idea Stage); Commercialize products (Launch Stage) and Growth (Growth Stage).

Currently, Eastern International University, operating mainly in the first stage, lecturers of the Faculty of Business Administration (BBS), Faculty of Engineering (SET), supporting units of the University such as Business Incubator Becamex (Becamex Business Incubator – BBI) and OCC (Office for Community Connect) play the role of training knowledge and basic skills for students through the appropriate subjects; advising and suggesting specific projects, thereby inspiring and “nurturing” entrepreneurship / entrepreneurship spirit for students; promote teachers, students of the BBS and SET Faculties to cooperate, to gradually formulate startup ideas / projects.

The school is ready for the second phase, it is committed to supporting and providing necessary business knowledge such as legal documents, intellectual property, tax, workplace and more. Such assistance will be offered to spin-off enterprises (belonging to EIU) and other outside companies which have a basic product, service, or model.

III / The works Eastern International University has been doing in building a startup ecosystem at the University.

1 / Developing a training program on Entrepreneurship and Innovation

With the following highlights:
– “Starting a Business” is a compulsory subject at the Department of BBS, Department of SET.
– The specialized training program “Entrepreneurship and Innovation” of the BBS Faculty was approved and taught by the Ministry of Education and Training in 2016.
– Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program aims to equip students with the general ability and vision of startup trends; entrepreneurship ecosystem; creative thinking; entrepreneurship, taking risks in business and critical thinking.

2 / Train staff and lecturers specializing in entrepreneurship ecosystems and start-up support.
– Lecturers are trained in Singapore under the specialization of Entrepreneurship.
– In July 2016, the University sent a staff of lecturers to attend a short-term training course on entrepreneurship and the role of the University in the startup ecosystem at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

3 / Developing an environment specifically dedicated to the University’s startup ecosystem
– The school is building a Fablab and identifying it as an open space, creating favourable conditions for teachers and students of the University or schools from nearby vicinities that are fond of technology to have access to study, exchange and realize their startup ideas. The Fablab will team up with BBI to select and nurture potential real-life projects for startups.

– The Fablab in the University plays a key role in promoting innovation, and is the foundation for creating high-value intellectual property and inventions for Binh Duong and neighboring areas.
– Based on the cooperation with Philips Lighting; On October 11th, 2017, the University has inaugurated a lighting laboratory (LightingLab) for all teachers and students of the University to research and implement intensive projects and projects related to the lighting field; Apply modern lighting solutions from the laboratory to the real world.

EIU and Binh Duong New City has been contributing to the development of initial startup ideas for the field of smart lighting such as: intelligent lighting system (automatically turn on, turn off the lights, control the brightness of the lights to save electricity); IoT applications to lighting systems to control, monitor and manage energy (monitoring, controlling remote lighting systems with computers or smartphones).

4 / Cooperating in building and developing scientific database resources to form the School / Binh Duong startup ecosystem.

The University has cooperated with the Central Library of Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City to use the huge database of scientific research, including:
– Books: 188,000 titles with 632,000 copies
– Magazines: 1900 titles
– Dissertation, thesis: 28,500 documents
– Textbook: 1700 documents
– Scientific Research: 5000 documents

In addition, readers are provided with online databases (databases) which are high academic resources of foreign countries. These are databases with paid access rights, with research articles from scientific journals, e-books and many other scientific documents from prestigious publishers around the world. The above-mentioned databases include:

Access Engineering; Access Science; ACS Journal (American Chemical Society); AGORA; Emerald Insight; GALE; IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers); IG Publishing; IOP Science Journal; JL (John Libbey Eurotext); MathScinet; MIT Open Courseware; Nature; OARE; OECD iLibrary (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development); ProQuest; ScienceDirect; Springer Open; SpringerLink; Taylor Francies Online và Wiley Online Library

This database allows all teachers, students and startups at the University’s BBI Incubator to be used in research, development of science and technology ideas, product development for startups; and expand to provide all businesses and startups in need;

This is considered as a dedication of the University, in a joint effort to create a “Startup Ecosystem” in the School and Binh Duong and the surrounding area.

5/Preparation for product commercialization stage

The school has built and established Becamex Business Incubator (Becamex Business Incubator – BBI) with the vision of “Promoting entrepreneurship thinking and developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region, thereby contributing new value to the community and national economy”.

BBI is responsible for:

– Provide comprehensive and professional solutions for co-working space and business development services.
– Developing a support network to help connect individuals with partners and organizations in the startup business community.
– Developing the spirit of innovation in entrepreneurship with professional support programs from Eastern International University.

6/ Preparation for the growing stage

The school is gradually adjusting the training program, with the goal of training / incubating / encouraging students’ “business spirit / entrepreneurship”. The school defines the philosophy and mode of training as not only academic knowledge, but also communication and negotiation skills; team building skills and manpower utilization; Problem-solving skills; crisis management skills, leadership skills and strategic thinking; including specific skills such as financial planning and cash flow management, new value creation and customer relationship management.

The school continues to promote and connect training / scientific research / creating creative start-up environments together; ensuring elements of the “entrepreneurial ecosystem” in the startup path (Figure (4)), help students have a good experience and practice, and equip knowledge / practice and encouragement at the same time. Boost student’s way of thinking (creative passion and willingness to take risks) through successful entrepreneur stories; Since then students have the ability / ability to make the best decisions in a specific context. In this way, the University can contribute / provide to the “Startup ecosystem” of qualified start-up employees like Singapore’s Prime Minister said: “Building a smart country needs entrepreneurial spirit. body ”(9).

Refer to and quote at:

(1) Thủ tướng: “2016 được xác định là năm quốc gia khởi nghiệp”