A new competition which aims to solve Vietnam’s infrastructure problems with smart city solutions is now open to pitches.
The Asian Development Bank is partnering with Singaporean venture capital firm TNB Ventures, Mekong Business Initiative, and Australian Aid, to bring in startups to offer connected infrastructure solutions and establish smart cities in the country.
The southeast Asian country is witnessing rapid urbanisation pushed by a quickly developing economy, with 41,700 square kilometres of urban land compared to just 630 square kilometres in 1998. The country is projected to have 52 million residents living in urban centres by 2025.
This is causing a number of problems, from lack of affordable housing to sewage disposal, and deteriorating infrastructure on the country’s notoriously busy roads.
‘The pace of infrastructure development in Vietnam is a challenge to the new ideas and solutions to be applied’, says Jason Lusk of the Mekong Business Initiative.
The competition, called the Global Smart City Innovation Challenge for Vietnam, is offering the chance for as many as 20 companies to receive funding for their urban solutions. Companies of any size will be able to pitch their ideas in the hope of taking part in a six-week virtual workshop and eventually receiving funding towards their program.
Managing partner of TNB, Michael Yap, said: ‘By connecting private sector innovators to Vietnamese stakeholders and adapting their solutions to local needs, the Global Smart City Innovation Challenge for Vietnam achieves a public good while grooming excellent, innovative companies.’
According to TNB, the challenge’s goal is to see innovative solutions applied to real life challenges in Vietnam’s 800 urban centres. The organisers have identified six major problem areas they want to address; providing affordable housing, improving traffic and parking, managing drainage and sewage, increasing environmental awareness in tourism, enhancing green spaces, and ensuring people have access to clean water.
The competition is in its early stages but the organisers are already seeing interesting solutions to these issues. Lusk said: ‘We are definitely seeing a lot of IoT and sensor technologies that are very applicable to solving our problem statements.’
The Stack will be covering some of the most exciting pitches as the competition continues.