Member Spotlight: Workforce for an Innovation and Start-up Ecosystem Activity in Vietnam

Nov. 15, 2021 | By Ann Katsiak, Vice President, Economic Engagement and Private Sector Development

Launch of the Workforce for an Innovation and Start-Up Ecosystem (WISE)

Nathan launches Workforce for an Innovation and Start-up Ecosystem Activity in Vietnam

Implemented by Nathan Associates, US Support for Economic Growth in Asia (US-SEGA) is a six-year demand driven project which seeks to improve the policy environment for sustainable economic growth and prosperity, improved regional economic cooperation, sound management of institutions and good governance throughout APEC and the Indo-Pacific, while also expanding markets for U.S. goods and services. Across its scope, US-SEGA particularly supports USAID missions in the region in the development and implementation of pilot ideas and initiatives across economic growth issues. On October 1, 2021, US-SEGA—which is funded by the USAID and the U.S. Department of State — launched the Workforce for an Innovation and Start-Up Ecosystem (WISE) activity — a two-year, US$ 2 million pilot activity with Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment’s National Innovation Center (MPI/NIC). The launch, a hybrid virtual and in-person event held in Hanoi, was attended by 100 representatives from government and industry. The event was livestreamed and generated strong media coverage in Vietnam.

Initially announced by Vice President Kamala Harris during her visit to Vietnam in August 2021, WISE is teaming with government and industry partners to develop scalable, market-driven, and sustainable approaches to prepare Vietnam’s workers for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). WISE activities include building capacity for the workforce in basic digital literacy; providing information on 4IR career pathways; helping Vietnamese training institutions reskill or upskill Vietnamese workers at scale; capacity building for MPI/NIC and other government agencies to collaborate with the private sector on 4IR workforce development, and exploring innovative mechanisms for education finance.

Through WISE, Nathan has established partnerships which include assistance to Lotte Finance Vietnam to develop innovative education loan products such as shared-risk loans for learners. WISE is also partnering with BK Academy to extend training to Cisco master lecturers, who will then go on to train additional students in Cisco networking. WISE’s partnership with AI Education to scale their 4IR training in Vietnam includes support for translation of training materials into Vietnamese, developing an online training system to allow for blended or fully online training, and to expand training to those outside of major cities. 
WISE supports Vietnam’s National Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Strategy, USAID/Vietnam strategic objectives, and USAID’s Digital Strategy. The activity is implemented by Nathan Associates and its Vietnamese partner, Marketplace for Business Innovations (MBI),

For more information, please contact US-SEGA Chief of Party, Ann Katsiak at