The GBA Business Challenge 2020 – Progress after 6 months

Over 30 interesting business ideas from all over the country have been submitted after the challenge was opened and the working group around GBA board member and president of the Vietnamese-German University Prof. Fr. Tomas Benz selected the most promising. “We intentionally limited the competition to ideas that were not yet established, to especially also give applicants a chance, that might have a game-changing idea, but not the financial or formal resources to turn it into reality. Therefore, the best candidates received a training by the VGU to refine their Business Plan and have a chance to pursue the idea.”

The five teams of 2020 pitched their ideas to an exquisite business audience – at the GBA Monthly Business Meeting at Park Hyatt Saigon.

GBA Business Challenge 2020
The three winning teams received funding to get immediately started with the realization of their Business Idea. After a vote among the participants, all participants of the meeting voted for their favorite teams and three winners were then found.

FUTURISTIC MICROALGAE: A new and environmentally friendly approach for processing wastewater. The team from Da Nang University participated together with their professor Ananta Kumar consisted of Phạm Huỳnh Thiên Ân, Nguyễn Quang Hòa, Ngô Diễm Linh, Nguyễn Quốc Vương.





FARMER2PRODUCER: An e-commerce trading platform for dried pepper with the mission is to bring convenience to farmers with a simple, easy-to-use application. The team formed by Mai Quỳnh Thanh Tú, Trần Thị Thuý Trinh, Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Ánh, Nguyễn Duy Sỹ, Phạm Vũ Thu Nguyệt and Hồ Thanh Phong also is from Da Nang.





UPCYCLING CULTURE: The team around Trương Vĩnh Hoàng Châu and Nguyễn Lương Bảo Châu offers fashionable clothing items at the same time reduce waste by adding more value to existing clothes.






And six months after the first GBA Business Challenge? Work in progress!

The winning team “Futuristic Microalgae” is pursuing to use algae to clean wastewater from marine agricultures, a part of the industry that is very important and common in Vietnam.
Moreover, they are investigating ways to win energy from the microalgae’s metabolism. The team from Da Nang University aims to develop a sustainable solution easy to apply in emerging countries like Vietnam as a promising opportunity to create a new industry, new jobs and energy independence.

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Futuristic Microalgae so far invested the resources into their research and development of the technology:

  • Linked with a seafood company, committed to supporting the supply of experimental wastewater at 4 sources with COD content of 8000,3000,2000 and source after treatment.
  • Survey of culture in wastewater with large COD
  • In the process of rebuilding the automatic farming and harvesting system with 70% of the total work
  • Harvesting system is being implemented with automatic and control devices


Team leader Nguyen Vuong Quoc about the experience at the GBA Business Challenge:

“The first time that we got to know about GBA Challenge, we were all overwhelmed by the huge scale and the professionalism of the competition. Apart from it, we could not avoid undergoing great pressure in terms of timing our pitching. There is a bunch of nervousness that if our presentation delivers quality content within 5 minutes if our slides look professional if anything went wrong during our pitching and so on. However, we have received precious experience at the pitch. Besides, we could learn and gain soft skills in teamwork. We had opportunities to push ourselves at the highest level, giving a presentation on a big stage, in front of successful businessmen and businesswomen.

For us, GBA is a wonderful experience as well as a rewarding playground where Vietnamese students can freely create and come up with their own startup ideas. The contest has supported the development of startup ideas in all fields through workshops, coaching sessions and qualifiers to develop the worthiest ideas. In addition to the knowledge that has been forged, we also gain valuable experiences to be able to succeed in the business path through presentations at the meeting. Moreover, we also have the opportunity to interact with wonderful people from Germany to learn the lifestyle, work, and culture in the business environment. In short, we want to express our gratitude to GBA for everything, and we will try to find other opportunities to return to GBA in the coming years.”


Team Farmer2Producer – Lifting up pepper farmers from Central Vietnam with modern technologies

The second winner can already present some progress that was enabled by the GBA Business Challenge: Team Farmer2Producer aims to help farmers in remote locations in Vietnam to connect themselves to the supply chain and sell their products more efficiently all over the country. The main product right now is a specialty of the central Vietnamese Quang Tri province, dried pepper.
The issue with this high-quality product is that the outcome of the harvest is hard to predict, other than that a high fluctuation in market prices makes it difficult to farmers to calculate investment costs and finally create a sustainable business.

To target this issue that can easily be transferred to every agricultural product produced by individual farmers, the team is developing a mobile application that supports price control and income restoration.

Currently, the team from Da Nang is working on the mobile app, an accompanying e-commerce website, test e-commerce trading, collaborate with pepper buying suppliers and doing field trips to Quang Tri province to introduce the App to the farmers.


If you would like to learn more about the development of the teams or get in touch, please contact Ms. Julia Goeb (, Marketing & Communications Manager to get the contact information.