KisStartup was established in 2015 with the mission to accompany entrepreneurs and startups in enhancing their innovation capacity, to support them to innovate more effectively and bring more practical benefits to the community. Their vision is to become a flourishing community of innovators, rooted in Vietnam and acting globally, that creates long-lasting impact.
Under Frontier Incubators, KisStartup worked with invest2innovate and Spring to co-design a support plan focused on increasing their capabilities in building investor networks, impact measurement, and financial sustainability.
Ta Huong Thao, Investor Network Development Manager/Capacity Building Manager at KisStartup notes, “Spring has experience in building startup ecosystems and investor networks and also understands the situation in Vietnamese and Asian startup communities. As for i2i, we recognise that Vietnam somehow has the same condition as Pakistan at the time i2i launched. Therefore, with experience from Spring and i2i, we can begin to enhance our capabilities and develop our current community.”
Before Frontier Incubators, KisStartup had a focus on impact but lacked the tools and frameworks to measure it. Through Frontier Incubators, KisStartup furthered their impact measurement framework; sharpened their vision, mission, and values; and improved their own capacity to support innovation enterprises and start ups in Vietnam; and enhanced their financial sustainability. They went on to train eight social enterprise teams in impact measurement as part of UNDP’s SDG Challenge 2019.
Influenced by their work with Spring, KisStartup also co-developed and launched the Center for Food and Beverage Innovation (CBFI) in partnership with the Restaurant Association of Vietnam. CBFI is Vietnam’s first program that offers food and beverage-related projects, startups, and existing enterprises a unique resource to accelerate their companies. KisStartup has made connections with people and organisations to strengthen a quality network of different stakeholders in the startup ecosystem in both the public and private sectors.
KisStartup was also inspired by the Angel Accelerator thematic webinar led by Fledge, and extended their partnership beyond SFI who went beyond their mandate to support KisStartup in creating a framework and tools localised to the Vietnamese market to better understand the current landscape of existing angels and begin developing a local angel network in Vietnam. In November 2019, a local fund of angel investors officially signed a cooperation agreement with KisStartup to fund projects in agritech and e-commerce. Within this agreement, KisStartup delivered a pilot Angels Conference to test the model in Vietnam, and another training is planned for July or August 2020.
By building new partnerships and creating opportunities for a more diverse set of entrepreneurs, KiSstartup is contributing to the expansion of the ecosystem for start-ups. Such collaboration is essential to ensuring that their work is coherent in the ecosystem.
KisStartup was one of three Vietnam-based organisations involved in Frontier Incubators which also involved the Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion (CSIP) and the Women’s Initiative for Startups and Entrepreneurship (WISE). All three organisations knew one another, but since Frontier Incubators, KisStartup and WISE exchanged ideas, particularly around how KisStartup can incorporate gender in their curriculum. WISE and KisStartup also are in discussions about a possible training for angel investors about women-led businesses.
KisStartup sees the possibilities for the Frontier Incubator participant organisations in Vietnam to expand their collaboration by capitalising on their respective strengths. They see potential for joint activities and deepening existing relationships. “We hope that after the program we can focus on cohort-cohort relationships, how to be a stronger community among cohort members, rather than focus on partners-cohort.”