Cần Thơ wants more firms, jobs

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CẦN THƠ — Solutions to develop nearly 7,000 new enterprises by 2020 were top of the agenda of a meeting organised by Cần Thơ City’s People’s Committee and relevant agencies on Tuesday.

Cần Thơ City, currently, has more than 6,900 enterprises with total registered capital of VNĐ55.5 trillion (US$2.47 billion), creating jobs for over 101,500 workers. On average, each enterprise has registered capital of over VNĐ8 billion.

To implement Government’s Resolution 35, Cần Thơ City targets to have 13,800 enterprises by 2020. Of the total, 6,900 enterprises will be newly-established and some 20-25 per cent of them will apply high technologies in production.

The enterprises are expected to help increase the contribution of enterprises to the city’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) to 50-60 per cent and create over 210,000 employees of whom 40 per cent will be female.

Last year, there were 1,100 enterprises set up in Cần Thơ City and more than 400 enterprises were established in the first four months of 2017. Thus, from now until the end of 2020, to achieve the set target, each year, Cần Thơ City needs some 1,700 newly-established enterprises.

Nguyễn Phương Lam, deputy director of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Cần Thơ branch, said that for developed countries, for every 10-15 people, there is one enterprise, but in Việt Nam the ratio is 1:248.

In the Mekong Delta region, the ratio of enterprises to the population is only half that of the whole country, which is some 450 people per enterprise, but Cần Thơ City, with more favourable conditions, has some 250-300 people per business.

Lam said the city’s target of new businesses by 2020 is achievable, provided that the city continues to improve its investment climate, including its provincial competitiveness index.

According to Lam, among Mekong Delta localities, Cần Thơ City currently has the best conditions for business development, but the city still lacks leading enterprises to create a driving force for small and medium-sized businesses.

In the long term, Cần Thơ needs to focus on developing startups, meaning businesses with new innovations and creativity, rather than establishing new ones in the normal sense, Lam stressed.

Besides this, the city should also pay attention to seeking investment from businesses from other localities, such as from HCM City, Lam said, adding that the municipal authorities need to create good conditions for university graduates to start their own business.

Trần Quốc Hà, director of the State Bank of Việt Nam’s Cần Thơ branch, said the city’s information e-portal should set up a forum for startups, providing information about the city’s startup policy so that all individuals know and participate.

The city also needs a resolution served as the basis for implementing its startup plan, Hà said, stressing the importance of having a very specific policy for commercial banks to join hands in the programme.

Cần Thơ also needs concrete policies and directions to develop enterprises in the fields of information technology and automation, Hà added.

Nguyễn Văn Hồng, director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, said the city could reach the target of newly-established enterprises, but the number of new businesses set up according to the nature of startups – i.e. be creative and apply new technologies — is not many.

This is the most challenging issue that Cần Thơ City and many other places in the Mekong Delta are facing, Hồng said
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