Start-up Competition “GBA Business Challenge”: Unveiling the Champion of Season 4

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Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – The GBA successfully hosted the final pitch event of the GBA Business Challenge – Season IV on Monday, 6 November 2023 at Sofitel Saigon Plaza. The event drew the attention of 80 participants, including members of the German business community, university professors, and entrepreneurs.

Launched by the GBA in 2020, the GBA Business Challenge aims to support local young talents with promising, forward-thinking ideas, helping them transform their visions into viable businesses. The competition provides participants with entrepreneurial tools, real-life business experience, and a starting fund. The first three editions were highly successful, attracting over 200 diverse business concepts with the potential to positively impact society, the environment, and people in the long term.

This year’s competition theme focused on addressing issues related to social, environmental, or sustainable development. Out of 50 startups that underwent a rigorous 6-month training and evaluation process, five teams from various universities across Vietnam reached the top ranks of the competition. They presented their innovative solutions to a panel of judges, competing for a prize of 350 million dong and a 12-month coaching program. The coaching program is facilitated by experienced leaders and experts from the German business community in Vietnam.

The victorious team from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology distinguished themselves with their practical business idea, “ENSOVER: Sustainable Water Hyacinth Paper”. The initiative transforms the invasive water hyacinth into high-quality paper, turning an environmental issue into a sustainable solution. Embodying the motto “From Waste to Great”, the champion aims to highlight Vietnamese identity through innovative solutions to local environmental challenges, fostering national pride and showcasing Vietnamese ingenuity. This effort reflects Vietnam’s commitment to sustainability and resilience.

The champion team expressed their gratitude for the competition, stating, “Participating in the GBA Business Challenge provided us not only with financial support and a capacity-building program, but also a chance to challenge ourselves, grow our confidence, and enhance soft skills such as presentation and pitching in English, logical and critical thinking, and project management. We also experienced the challenges and pressures of the real business environment. After six months of competition, we have gained a wealth of knowledge and valuable lessons, which have boosted our self-confidence and entrepreneurial spirit.”

The AGROWISE team, comprising students from the Danang University of Economics and Vietnam – Korea University of Information and Communication Technology, clinched the first runner-up spot with their persuasive business ideas centered on “Internet of Things” (IoT) technology. This empowers farmers to yield abundant crops while conserving valuable natural resources. The MEDIFIND team, from the University of Economic Ho Chi Minh City and the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, secured the second runner-up position. They offer a comprehensive app, which ensures the safe usage of antibiotics by meticulously analyzing ingredient lists and providing decisive advice and warnings.

We would like to thank our keynote speakers: Ivy Nhi Chau, Co-Founder of Tech After Dark & CEO Ivy+Partners, Felix Suellwold, Co-Founder & CEO of Code Leap AG, and Oscar Xing Luo, Co-Founder & CTO of Reforged Labs for being a part of our successful final pitch and sharing valuable insights regarding emerging AI trends from a Vietnamese startup and corporate perspective.

Our gratitude goes to the Diamond sponsor Techtronic Industries TTI and 16 dedicated Sector Committee members who have made the Season IV a grand success! Their unwavering support and partnership have enabled us to create a platform for young Vietnamese entrepreneurs to showcase their talent and realize their dreams.

The Sector Committee members of Season IV: Anna Tran from German Business Association, Brian O’Reilly from Bain & Company, David Salt from LOGIVAN, Dirk Hartmann from tesa Site Haiphong, Duyen Do from BASF Vietnam, Eckart Dutz from Pacific Partners Vietnam, Herbert Gonder from Gonder Consulting, Ingo Brandenburg from Bayer Vietnam, Linda Pham from AK Design, Lukas Schoeneck from thyssenkrupp Polysius, Michael Wekezer from Roedl & Partner Vietnam, Nam Hoang from Headhunt Vietnam, Dr. Savas Tumis from Whole Brain Strategy Stefan Hase-Bergen from DAAD Vietnam, and Tuan Vi from Schaeffler Vietnam,

Tuan Vi, GBA Board member – Sector Committee member of the “GBA Business Challenge” stated, “As a business association, the German Business Association believes that it can make a more sustainable impact by encouraging and mentoring business. The GBA Business Challenge is an effort of the GBA to create and support new start-ups, which later can create jobs, income as well as contribute to the economic development of Vietnam in the long term. Through this initiative, we also want to create a connection between the German business values and Vietnamese entrepreneurship spirit that might open many cooperation and business opportunities in the future.”

Honored to be a partner with GBA for Season IV – Techtronic Industries TTI , expressed: “Techtronic Industries (TTI) was co-founded in 1985 by Mr. Horst Julius Pudwill. The company is committed to accelerating the transformation of its served industries through superior environmentally friendly cordless technology. TTI brands like MILWAUKEE, RYOBI and HOOVER are recognized worldwide for their deep heritage and cordless product platforms of superior quality, outstanding performance, safety, productivity, and compelling innovation. Our chairman’s entrepreneurial spirit inspired us to continue encouraging the entrepreneurship development among the next generations in Vietnam. Through the collaboration with GBA in this GBA Business Challenge Competition, we hope that young Vietnamese talent with good business ideas can enhance their skills and knowledge, receive constructive feedback from the judging panel and turn those creative ideas into reality, contributing to the thriving economy in Vietnam.”