Lotus Fund, an impact investing fund focused on Southeast Asia, has teamed up with the University of Da Nang’s College of Information Technology in Vietnam to launch Lotus Hub, an innovation space for entrepreneurs.
“The intent of Lotus Hub is to illustrate the viability of developing investment-worthy startup businesses in Vietnam through a hands-on venture building approach,” said James Bui, founder and partner at Lotus Fund.
The target is to field, vet and build ideas into successful enterprises that, in turn, push the development of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Vietnam.
While overseas investors are more aware of Hanoi, the capital city, and Ho Chi Minh City, the business centre, Da Nang can be seen as a pool of science and technology researchers and innovation in central Vietnam.
Lotus Hub, therefore, will be part of the equation to develop the practical tools, methodology and high-quality research that lead to academic discovery and real application.
“Cooperating with Lotus Fund is a smart, timely and fruitful way for our university to build entrepreuneurship through an innovation incubator, which not only meets the urgent needs of supporting enterprises, but will also realise the country’s and Da Nang City’s master plan to bring technological innovation into practice. Further, this initiative promotes research and creativity among students, lecturers and the youth in Central Highlands region; as well as increases the chance of survival and growth of new businesses”, said Dr. Huynh Cong Phap, deputy rector of the IT college.
In Vietnam, Lotus Fund plays a part in shaping the impact investing ecosystem through its sponsorship of the Vietnam Social Investment Forum in 2014, as well as its own seed investments including KOTO Catering, a joint venture with social enterprise KOTO.
Additionally, Lotus Fund has invested in MyVietnamCFO.com, a platform to support local startups and small businesses, Pots and Pans restaurant, and healthcare portal and app Song Khoe Plus. Now with the partnership with the university, the fund expects to start a new era in its investment and commitment building the startup ecosystem in Vietnam and specifically Da Nang.
“Lotus Fund is a smart, prescient way of investing, especially in emerging markets like Vietnam. The opportunity to do social good and generate financial return underscores the quest for true sustainability. VinaCapital is excited to be a pioneer supporter of Lotus Lotus Fund,” commented Don Lam, CEO of investment fund VinaCapital, who is also an advisor for Lotus Fund.
“Broadly speaking, impact investing is an emerging asset class globally. Currently Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, is a fertile ground for impact investments, especially for startups and early stage companies through true collaborative efforts and partnerships,” said Steve Landman, managing partner at Lotus Fund.