“We believe that the International Innovators Award is a very good start not only for 6 Finalists here but also for us to normalize the operation process and get ready to go global with the ‘new normal’ condition.” – Dr. Bui Quang Hung – Vice President of UEH.

On the 18th of November 2021, the Final Round of International Innovators Award 2021 (IIA) was successfully organized in hybrid format by the International SEPT Competence Center (Leipzig University) and UEH Institute of Innovation. The event took place at the main bridge point of UEH Innovation Institute, connecting with other auxiliary bridge points in Leipzig City (Germany) and Vinh City (Nghe An) and was also broadcasted on Facebook and Youtube channels of UII, International SEPT Program, Leipzig University.

The Organizing Committee of IIA 2021 is honored to welcome on board the Jury of the Final round, which are lecturers and experts with long-standing experience in the field of innovation in Vietnam and Germany: Dr. Bui Quang Hung – Vice-President of UEH, Prof. Dr. Utz Dornberger – Director of SEPT International Competence Center, Leipzig University, Ms. Huynh Dinh Thai Linh – Director of WTC Becamex, Mr. Sebastian Kratsch – Economic Development Office, City of Leipzig, Mr. Gunnar Kassberg – International SEPT Competence Center, Leipzig University, Mr. Huynh Phuoc Nghia – Vice Director of UII. Asso. Prof. Dr Phan Thi Bich Nguyet – Chairwoman of UEH Consulting Council and Director of UII – also joined as a distinguished guest. 

At the beginning of the ceremony, Dr. Bui Quang Hung – Vice President of UEH – gave the warmest welcome as a meaningful opening speech to all the audiences: “We are very honored to co-host this event with the International SEPT Competence Center, especially when in this year, we are also celebrating the 45th anniversary of University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City. We now have a new vision: The transition from a leading university in Economics and Management to the multidisciplinary and sustainable UEH University with 3 member colleges – UEH College of Business, UEH College of Economics, Law and Government and UEH College of Technology and Design. Established in 2019, UEH Institute of Innovation is now one of the leading innovation hubs in Ho Chi Minh City that help diversify the startup ecosystem and foster innovative spirits – especially for Vietnamese young startups. Thanks to the close relationship between UII and SEPT and our shared vision, we are motivated to help innovative business models go global for further success.”

IIA 2021 is organized as a great effort of the organizations in maintaining activities during the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting the international commercialization process of small and medium enterprises. The main purpose of IIA is to come and encourage Vietnamese SMEs/startups to ultimately and strategically innovate their methods of providing and promoting their products/services to prepare for competing in the international market in the near future. Dr. Bui Quang Hung and Prof. Dr. Utz Dornberger both highlighted the importance of proactiveness and innovation in helping young enterprises in Vietnam to survive and overcome the hurdles during the pandemic.

Dr. Bui Quang Hung and Prof. Dr. Utz Dornberger kicked off the Final Round of IIA 2021 with meaningful opening speeches.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, not only the German judges but also 2 out of 6 finalists (Eco Hanger and IVOGEL) could only attend the event online. Each team was able to make the most use out of a maximum of 7 minutes to pitch ideas and another 5 minutes for the Q&A session with the Board of Judges as they were able to convince the audiences about the development potential of their products/services through well-prepared, unique and creative presentations. Thanks to the careful preparation from the Organizing Committee, the online presentations as well as the communication process between both Vietnam and Germany sides faced no difficulties as if there were no physical boundaries.

The Finalists impressed the Board of Judges with their high level of confidence and remarkable pitch decks.

Based on important criteria to commercialize the product in the international market (such as feasibility, USP (Unique Selling Point), suitability, entry strategy, growth potential) which were presented and discussed during the Pitching Sessions with the Finalists, the Jury has come to the final decision that this year’s competition will have 3 winners instead of 2 as intended. This rule-breaking decision was not only an indication of how competitive and outstanding the pitch decks of TOP 6 were but also a golden proof of the Board of Judges’ conscientiousness. The winners of International Innovators Award 2021 are Eco Hanger, Green Joy and Dr. Shaving. The prize includes full funding of airfare, travel and accommodation costs for a trip to Germany as well as access to a workspace at the University of Leipzig. Eco Hanger, Green Joy and Dr. Shaving will also have the opportunity to connect – cooperate directly with German business partners/customers as well as receive support from German experts to evaluate the possibility of product/service development in this potential market.

Representatives of IIA 2021’s winners received awards with joy.

We believe that the result marked an inspiring journey filled with passion for innovation, continuous learning and improving, as well as accumulating practical international business knowledge. This is also a bright beginning of a long-term development plan for Eco Hanger, Green Joy and Dr. Shaving to connect and explore the new markets in the European Union and Germany. For the remaining 3 teams, the journey of innovation did not stop there as IIA 2021 would like to keep in close contact with all of them so that the facilitators can continue supporting these Vietnamese enterprises in bringing their ideas to international markets. “I see in all of the candidates the potential to really develop in the German market.”, Prof. Dr. Utz Dornberger said.

For more than 5 years, the competition has created opportunities for young enterprises and start-ups in Vietnam to connect and explore the new markets in the European Union and Germany in particular. We hope that the TOP 6 Finalists will become more successful in expanding their business internationally and the cooperation between the International SEPT Competence Center and UEH Institute of Innovation will become more and more strongly developed!

Let’s take a look at some other memorable moments of the Final Round:


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