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Rubicon Centre Delivers Startup Runway Programme in Vietnam

26 May, 2016



Startup Runway Project

This exciting project – a partnership between CIT and the University of Economics at the University of DaNang - is funded through the Department of Foreign Affairs Vietnam Ireland Bilateral Exchange (VIBE) programme. The project has supported CIT and Rubicon Centre staff to travel to Vietnam to provide training to staff, and to deliver workshops to over 50 shortlisted student teams.

The project launched in Vietnam on the 5th March 2016, and three Vietnamese

lecturers arrived on the CIT Campus on Monday 7th March to participate in CIT Innovation Week. Initially over two hundred young aspiring - entrepreneurs from 9 Universities in Vietnam had entered a competition, with the top prize  of enterprise learning and mentoring at the Ireland’s most successful incubation centre, the Rubicon Centre at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). The winners will benefit from a one-month experience on CIT’s Student Inc student entrepreneurship support programme during August 2016. A number of units within CIT will contribute to the delivery of the project, apart from the Rubicon Centre team.

Staff from the School of Business, the Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence and the Industry Liaison Office will all provide input to the project, be it research support, practical and theoretical underpinning, or enabling access to external supports. Vice President for External Affairs, Orla Flynn, said, “We’re really looking forward to our engagement with our Vietnamese partners, and testing how the success of our entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in CIT and the Rubicon can translate internationally. We’re also very interested in exploring the diverse nature of the projects which will emerge as finalists from Vietnam. We’re very grateful to the Department of Foreign Affairs for their funding support, which will enable staff and student exchange, a vital component of any successful project.”  


George Bulman of the Rubicon Centre and Wesley Connolly-Tong from CIT travelled to Vietnam on the 15th March to commence the workshops with over 180 students. We arrived into a warm and beautiful country with the friendliest people you could ever come across.

We commenced the workshops on the 17th March,  Lá Fhéile Pádraig, this was a great time to start as we were able to explain our Irish culture via the shamrock and also that this project had three strands just like a shamrock, Irish Aid, CIT and Danang University. The enthusiasm of the students and staff was mind blowing and one could feel the excitement they possessed for this project.

Many of the students had good English so communication was easy, for others who had limited or no English we had the use of our interpreter Ms. Hien, who did a wonderful job. During the tea break you did not even get to have a cup of tea (green) as there was a constant queue of students waiting to ask questions.

The other students however were typical students and devoured all the food on the tables. As we worked through the weekend with the students, we were joined by members of the University staff who helped us deliver practical sessions. We were talking to students and staff about entrepreneurship, yet we were in a country where entrepreneurship is rampant.

If you walk down any street in Danang there are rows of small enterprising shops selling a diverse range of items such as motorbike helmets, clothes, internet café, souvenirs, food and of course coconuts. Everyone in Danang seemed to be self-employed and etching a living wherever possible, I felt at times we will learn more from them than the other way around. I was also asked to speak about the project at the  end of one session, please see the link below.

The teams are now down to the last 10 and we are all eagerly awaiting the final on the 11th June 2016. The winners will come here to CIT and the Rubicon for one month to engage with our Student Inc. participants to progress their business ideas. We will also have Vietnam national TV on site in early August to film another Vietnamese entrepreneur Mr. Triet who is in Ireland for a week.

This visit will also coincide with the arrival of three staff from the University of Danang who will visit CIT and the Rubicon for one week as part of the project learning. If you ever get a chance to visit Vietnam, go to Danang and see the beauty of China beach, Marble Mountain and Lady Budda. lời chúc tốt nhất (best wishes) George A sample of the workshops can be found below: Viet3 Viet2

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