HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked for financial mechanisms to be built to attract investment into start-ups and innovation activities from both the country’s inside and outside resources.

Accordingly, the PM assigned the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) to continue implementing the project “Supporting national innovative start-up ecosystems by 2025” (Project 844) by providing support to incubators and training organisations to improve ability for start-ups. The ministry should promote the development of innovation and the start-up environment. Through Project 844’s executive board, the ministry should regularly organise meetings with investors and start-ups.

He also assigned the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in co-operation with MoST to build a financial mechanism for National Technology Innovation Fund (NATIF) to submit to the Government this year.

NATIF should have specific regulations on funding levels given to start-ups and innovation firms. It should develop a spending quota in line with typical activities of creative activities and start-ups. At the same time, it should develop a process of evaluating and appraising projects to ensure effective support.

The NATIF should supplement regulations stipulating that start-ups could be eligible to receive the fund’s support, and submit to the Government for promulgation in 2019.

Specifically, it would supplement funding activities, preferential lending and capital guarantee for start-ups to develop business models and ideas. Start-ups should satisfy conditions to be given support following regulations in the Law on Supporting Small-and-medium enterprises while meeting criteria set by NATIF for each sector.

The PM asked the MoF to have suitable spending criteria for outstanding start-ups when participating in incubators and the start-up ecosystem. Start-ups could be given funding to search for markets, hire experts and commercialise their products, services and technologies.

In the past few years, financial mechanisms for science and technology activities have enjoyed the establishment of funds such as NATIF and the National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED).

The NATIF was established following Decision No 1342/QĐ-TTg on August 5, 2011. The fund officially came into operation in 2015. Meanwhile, the NAFOSTED was established following Decree No 122/2003/NĐ-CP in February 2018. It has officially had funding activities since November 2009.

The two funds’ establishment has shown the Government’s determination as well as MoST in renewing the growth model by considering science and technology as a foundation and momentum for the country’s sustainable development. Businesses are considered as central to the national innovation system.

Đinh Văn Nhã, Deputy Chairman of Finance and Budget Committee of the National Assembly said the funds have offered opportunities for young generation to apply new models.

Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngọc Anh said the establishment of NAFOSTED has helped improve assessment quality of studies, ensuring transparency and following international standards.

“The NAFOSTED has opened opportunities for young scientists. Currently, 55 to 65 per cent of research topics in natural sciences and engineering have a topic made by young scientists under 40 years old,” Anh said.

The funds have created diversified and dynamic financial channels to mobilise all resources in society for development of science and technology targets. — VNS

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