BusinessInvestmentsLao Economy

Young People Line Up For Startup Presentations

Source: Vientiane Times

The government is encouraging an increasing number of young people to enter the business world, especially those looking to establish startups, because it will also strengthen the capacity of small and medium sized enterprises in Laos.

As part of the promotion strategy, young entrepreneurs attended a 54-hour intensive workshop where they learnt to create business models, as well as take part in designing and validating markets.

The 5th Vientiane Startup Weekend was held from March 10-12.

This year’s theme for the startup weekend was ‘Tourism Edition’ because tourism is a strength for Laos due to its abundant natural resources, culture, and fine traditions.

Director of the TohLao Co-working Space, Ms Souphaphone Suannavong, who represented the startup organising committee, spoke to Vientiane Times last week.

She explained that the startup weekend is a business idea competition which aims to come up with viable business propositions and plans, all in the space of 54 hours.

“It is a gathering of those people with their business plans to present at this event. Those people with similar business ideas will discuss the business plan as much as possible during their three-day gathering,” she said.

She said the startup weekend is a global grassroots movement comprised of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures.

“We have organised the startup weekend in Laos for three years and this is the 5th Vientiane Startup Weekend, all of which have examined different topics,” Ms Souphaphone said.

She explained that more than 50 young people have submitted business ideas on tourism topics, reflecting on the potential viability of proposed business operations and services.

“I would really like them to pursue their ideas and make them become a reality of business operation in the near future,” she added.

According to the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) account for 98 to 99 percent of all enterprises in Laos.

The promotion of startups in Laos is an essential factor in SME promotion more generally and will help to mitigate various issues.

The government has recently approved the establishment of the Small and Medium Enterprises Service Centre at the LNCCI.

The Centre will offer assistance in regards to foreign languages skills for operations that are keen to upgrade their language skills for better communication with their business partners.

In addition, samples of SME products, brochures of their companies and business cards of various SME entrepreneurs will be on display at the Centre.

Experienced trade officials will be available at the Centre to give advice to new businesspeople, especially those considering startups.