BK Holdings: Commercialization Bridge of Science and Technology Products
BK Holdings, Hanoi Bach Khoa Technology Development and Investment One Member Company Limited, was established in 2008 with the goal of developing into an innovation hub connected to the Vietnamese startup ecosystem and academic institutions. After more than ten years, BK Holdings has achieved significant success, promoting the commercialization of science and technology products at the University of Science and Technology and closely linking up resources in the startup ecosystem. The fourth article in the series about start-up support organizations by DNES, "BK Holdings: Commercialization Bridge of Science and Technology Products," in order for readers to comprehend the journey of BK Holdings and, in turn, have the chance to start their own business.
I. About BK Holdings:
BK Holdings is the first university-based enterprise system model in Vietnam. With more than 10 years of experience, BK Holdings has a significant impact on the commercialization of university research results to the market through incubation programs, investment funds (such the BK Fund), and community support initiatives. BK Holdings' primary goal is to turn scientific research and university research findings into products and services that enhance life quality and solve social problems. To achieve that, BK Holdings focuses on four main activities, including: (1) Investment ventures, associations, and share capital contribution to businesses; (2) Mobilizing and managing capital for the incubation and commercialization of technology products from Hanoi University of Science and Technology; (3) Provide training services to adapt skills and update knowledge, as required by society; and (4) Provide services including: investment consultancy, entrusted management of investment capital from organizations and individuals, and so on.
In the future, BK Holdings plans to build an innovation center in collaboration with Vietnamese universities and the startup ecosystem, and to speed the process of technology commercialization in order to create startups and spin-off enterprises that add value to society. As a result, it is critical for BK Holdings to motivate individuals, uphold commitments, and closely connect the ecosystem. These are the most important criteria that enable BK Holdings to successfully accomplish the assigned tasks and objectives.
II. Operation model:
BK Holdings has three main fields: Education, Technology, and Innovation. BK Holdings' whole operation is centered on three main aspects: The Innovation Pyramid, The Triple Helix Model of Innovation, and The Startup Ecosystem.
The Innovation Pyramid:
To foster the most creativity, BK Holdings provides start-up support initiatives that reach from the base to the top of the pyramids. Typical programs include the following: (1) Techstart Innovative Student Program, (2) Capacity Building Courses, such as the Program in Collaboration with Hanoi Department of Planning and Investment for 60 Employees, Consultants, and 60 Startup Founders, (3) University-based Incubators that focus on Research Projects and Products, such as Lab2Market, and (4) Programs related to Investment Expansion, such as BK Fund.
The Triple Helix Model of Innovation:
Throughout BK Holdings' startup support activities, there is always a combination of Government, Industries, and Universities – and these three sides' resources are utilized to implement incubation programs. One typical example of this combination is Lab2Market, which was established by a close collaboration between BK Holdings and the Ministry of Science and Technology's National Startup Support Center (NSSC), along with the participation of BK Fund and the Swiss Startup Support Program (Swiss EP).
BK Holdings' programs utilize resources from all three and also build upon one another, fostering and enhancing a solid Vietnamese startup ecosystem. For instance, the Lab2Market program's output can be used as an input to develop BK Fund's spin-off companies. Another example is the connection between the training program and the incubation program: The training program will prepare mentors for the incubation program at BK Holdings.
BK Holdings will keep promoting startup support initiatives in both breadth and depth in 2022 and the coming years. In terms of breadth, BK Holdings will consistently stimulate young people's creative spirits and create more integrated programs with the full involvement of the government, businesses, and universities. In terms of in-dept activities, BK Holdings will continue to support the incubation program, particularly Lab2Market, in order to generate high-quality input for investments and develop into Spin-off companies. Additionally, BK Holdings will highlight capacity building programs for resource staff in the ecosystem in the future. According to BK Holdings, these are essential activities to develop human capital for the Vietnamese innovation startup ecosystem.
III. Outstanding Achievements of BK Holdings:
After more than ten years of dedicated work, BK Holdings has essentially formed the startup ecosystem and accomplished some remarkable successes. BK Holdings' initial success was the commercialization of research results into startup products, followed by the successful development of 12 spin-off companies. BK Holdings' next accomplishment was the diversification of startup support programs, which contributed to the development of the ecosystem. The following are some of the data that demonstrate BK Holdings' exciting activity: 45 innovation startup courses, more than 150 events, 20 startup contests, 10 Bootcamps and Demo days, 5 mentoring programs, and so on.
IV. BK Holdings' Challenges:
In order to carry out its mission of effectively supporting startups, the biggest challenge for BK Holdings and the management team is to consistently develop and implement new models, which can help universities to transform their research results into science and technology enterprises. Additionally, those models also operate for connecting the ecosystem to other incubators and investment funds. In order to overcome this challenge, the BK Holdings team consistently places a strong emphasis on two factors: people and resources. Because only then will BK Holdings be able to effortlessly face the difficulties ahead.
V. The role of BK Holdings in the startup ecosystem:
BK Holdings' activities are always focused on two goals: (1) supporting startups and (2) promoting resource connectivity in the local and national startup ecosystem. BK Holdings prioritizes activities in two phases:
The first phase (2008 – 2018):
At this time, BK Holdings' activities mainly revolved around the mission of supporting and incubating start-ups from the research results associated with the University of Science and Technology.
The following phase (2018 – present):
With a focus on connecting the startup ecosystem with the local and national innovation ecosystems, BK Holdings has been expanding its startup support activities during the past five years. BK Holdings has decided to implement Project 4889, a project on building a startup ecosystem in Hanoi, from the very beginning and through the project's planning phase to implementation stage, in order to promote the local startup ecosystem. Furthermore, BK Holdings is very active in connecting with the ecosystems of other localities, such as: Da Nang (companyship in startup events and festivals), Hue (implementation of activities associated with the university and events), and Ho Chi Minh (collaboration with the city's Department of Science and Technology). Additionally, BK Holdings also promotes cooperation with the Central Government and Ministries to develop the national innovation startup ecosystem. The two most prominent activities that BK Holdings engaged are: Project 844, titled "Supporting the national innovation start-up ecosystem until 2025" chaired by the Ministry of Science and Technology, and Project 1665 titled "Supporting students and start-up students", chaired by the Ministry of Education and Training.
Besides that, during this time, BK Holdings concentrates on promoting activities that assist students in starting businesses, as well as approaches that encourage creative and innovative startup, and commercializes university research results. These are an indispensable component of the Vietnamese startup ecosystem.
Program Manager, Swiss Entrepreneurship Program (Swiss Ep), Master Tran Tri Dung also commented: “BK Holdings has had to go a very long journey to be able to introduce an incubation program to the market and support researchers in universities to commercialize their products to businesses and corporations. The interesting point we noticed is that, despite the fact that BK Holdings is a University unit, the way they solve the problem begins with understanding the needs and operation of industry and markets." Thanks to that, many projects have been enthusiastically supported by BK Holdings, oriented in the right direction and succeeded. One of them is Dinh Tien Hoang Medical Research Institute (Participating in SIC season 1). According to Dr. Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong (Founder of the Research Institute), she received a lot of guidance from mentors, lecturers and fellow participants when participating in SIC season 1. BK Holdings brings inventions at the Institute of Medical Research to patients in Vietnam and around the world through the DTH Medical Clinic model. Joining BK Holdings and the SIC program, she and the project appear to be given wings to realize their dreams; thereby, spread value to other ecosystems. Mr. Do Duc Thang, Former lecturer of Hanoi University, who participated in Lab2Market – also shared the same views. During his time with Lab2Market, he had the opportunity to approach many consultants, participate in intensive training sessions to deepen his understanding of issues such as intellectual property, market demand and fund-raising. He claimed that taking part in programs run by BK Holdings is a fantastic opportunity for young people to develop and bring intellectual products from laboratories to markets.
BK Holdings has had a long and difficult journey to effectively apply the triple helix model while also supporting startups to maximize development. DNES is delighted to share with you the story of BK Holdings in the hope that startups will have a better understanding of how incubators work and would be eager to collaborate with us to develop your start-up for a rising Vietnamese startup community!