As a largely untapped economic well, Vietnam’s talent pool is gaining strong attention from investors and the global tech community.

Techfest Vietnam is the biggest annual event for the startup community Vietnam, organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology in coordination with other Government Ministries, Agencies and socio-political organizations. At this year’s event in Hạ Long City, some US$14m were clinched from 250 foreign investors and experts by nearly 300 startups to energize the innovation ecosystem in the country.

Supporting the three-day event were sponsors VinTech City, Vietcombank and several other donors. The workshops, forums and seminars covered entrepreneurship development, Industry 4.0, digital health and healthcare, AI and Machine Learning, sustainability and social impact considerations of startup business models, trends in higher education and cross-border high-technology investment. Amazon Web Services organized a DeepRacer event where participants used machine learning tools to train a robotic car for autonomous cruising inside an enclosed track.

In the National Innovation Talent Contest for Start-ups segment, the top prize was awarded to MultiGlass, a start-up providing smart technology to help people with disabilities use computers. The smart communication device combines iris recognition technology and AI. Users just need to tilt their head to control the computer mouse in accordance with gestures. The movement of their eyes will be detected by the glasses, and this input can be used to control electrical appliances with just a blink. The product also incorporates an alarm to prevent users from dozing off when operating machinery. MultiGlass will represent Vietnam at the Start-up World Cup 2020 in San Francisco, USA.

At the Techfest closing ceremony on Friday 6 Dec, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Trần Văn Tùng said his Ministry would continue to assist the innovative start-up ecosystem and support local ecosystems. He highlighted the determination of ministries and sectors to create favourable conditions through a legal framework for start-ups, incubators and foreigners seeking investment opportunities in Vietnam.

The opinions given by domestic and foreign investors and experts at Techfest will be studied to improve the start-up environment, he said.