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80 Southeast Asian start-ups to feature at World Economic Forum on ASEAN


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Hanoi, Vietnam: Some of the most innovative start-up companies from the ASEAN region will be featured for the first time at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi, Vietnam, which starts today and will continue till 13 September.

Nearly 300 start-ups from across Southeast Asia applied to join the meeting. The 80 start-ups who will take part at the meeting were selected by a panel of judges from start-up accelerators, venture capital funds, technology experts, and media leaders. 

The selected start-ups come from across the region and represent a wide variety of sectors, from financial services, logistics and e-commerce, to agriculture, media and healthcare. The products and services they are developing range from smart fertilisers that reduce nitrous-oxide emissions (a potent greenhouse gas) to sharia-compliant bitcoins to new healthcare options for elderly care.

“We expect the start-ups to make an important contribution to shaping the debates at the meeting about the impact and course of new technologies and disruptive business models. We believe that they will enrich important discussions about how to upgrade innovation ecosystems and promote entrepreneurship,” said World Economic Forum Executive Committee Member and Head of Asia Pacific Justin Wood. “The start-ups will also benefit from their interactions with the other 1,000 participants at the Summit, including 90 government ministers and 600 business leaders from more established companies.”

During the meeting, the start-ups will be fully involved in the official program but will also have their own dedicated program track to discuss critical issues facing entrepreneurs, from finding finance to achieving regional scale with limited resources. There will also be a dedicated ‘hub’ for the start-ups to share their stories of disruption and transformation. Once the meeting is over, the Forum hopes to establish a permanent community for the start-ups to support their growth and development.

“The theme of the meeting is ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which reflects the significant transformations and disruptions that are now unfolding across South East Asia,” noted Wood. “One of the important responses to the challenges raised by disruptive technologies is entrepreneurship. It is through innovation that the region will grow the companies, shape the policies and build the economic systems of the future.”

The Co-Chairs of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN are Plan International, UK, Chief Executive Officer Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, Indonesia Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Republic of Korea Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-Wha, Malaysia CIMB Group Holdings Chairman Nazir Razak, Vietnam Acting Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung, and Hong Kong SAR, China, McKinsey and Company Global Managing Partner Kevin Sneader.


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