Do I need a team to participate?
Yes – you will need to form a team of at least 2 to 5 members to participate. Your team can be in any of the following stages:
o Early stage team (pre-incorporation) with only an idea
o Pre-seed stage startups who are working on its Minimal Viable Product (MVP)
o Foreign startups seeking access to the Vietnamese market
o Spin-offs created by Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) from local enterprises
Do I need an idea?
Yes – you will need an idea to apply to JICA Acceleration Program but its strength and weaknesses will not affect the assessment of your application. However, insights, foresights, keenness in being a part of a start-up, and ability to work in a dynamic team are what we value. We look at your drive to be an entrepreneur and the size of your ambition.
Can I apply if I do not have technical skills?
Yes – If you don’t come from a technical background but have business backgrounds, you are welcome to participate in the program. The most successful companies are built by co-founders with a combination of technical and domain expertise. Again, we look most at your drive and the size of your ambition.
I have technical skills, but do not have any business experience in starting a company, can I still apply?
Yes – a successful company are built by co-founders with a combination of technical and domain expertise. As a technically-skilled individual, you definitely have what it takes to make one of the best founders! The JICA Acceleration Program team will work with you to help you understand customer development, validate your idea and figure out the go to market strategy.
Do I qualify for the program if I have raised investments?
You are still eligible to apply if you have taken a very small amount of investment or been
awarded a grant.
Do I have to pay to join this program?
No, this program is free for all to join.
How do I know if I will be selected?
Once the application closes, all ideas will be evaluated by a Panel based on an internal rubrics. 60 teams will be shortlisted and invited to participate in an Investment Game, where teams will be ranked based on the amount of virtual funds raised from ‘Investors’. The top 30 teams with the highest virtual funds raised will get to participate in the 11-week acceleration program. These teams will then be matched with mentors and attend face-to-face interviews with all the program partners.
What is the program outline like?
This is a 11-week acceleration program which kicks off with a 2-day Bootcamp and concludes with a Demo Day. Teams, Mentors and Chief Instructors will meet up weekly for check-ins on the teams’ progress. For more information, refer to Program
What can I expect from this program?
During the 11-week program, each team/ startup will be incubated by any of the partner accelerators, where a mentor will be matched to your team/ startup. At the end of the program, there will also be opportunities for fundraising, market access and collaboration with corporates (e.g. MNCs, LLEs, SMEs, and Micro-SMEs, etc.) or collaboration with government agencies, associations, retail networks, and institutions etc.
Do I get an office space?
During the 11-week program, you maybe incubated by any of the partner accelerators (i.e. SIHUB, VNU ITP) and Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) Incubation Center) and given a hot-desking space.
Do the organisers/partners take equity?
No, for the pilot run from January to April 2021, no equity will be taken.
Who are the partner accelerators?
Saigon Innovation Hub
Information Technology Park, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon Hi-Tech Park Incubation Center
Where and how will the program be conducted?
The program will be conducted online via Zoom. However, if you are residing in Vietnam, you may meet up physically at our partners’ space during the weekly check-in sessions and/or meet-up sessions with your mentor.
Do I have to be based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to join the program?
No, you do not need to be based in Ho Chi Minh City. Teams or startups who are not based in Ho Chi Minh City will be able to join the program online but you should have a registered office address in Vietnam or a partner who resides in Vietnam.
Will there be accommodation provided?
Unfortunately, we will not be providing accommodation and all costs of living will be fully borne by participants if teams or startups decide to reside in Ho Chi Minh City for the program period.