2017 U.S. Ambassador’s Entrepreneurship Challenge

2017 U.S. Ambassador's Entrepreneurship Challenge

The U.S. Mission to Vietnam is pleased to announce the 2017 U.S. Ambassador’s Entrepreneurship Challenge (AEC), the second annual entrepreneurial competition to encourage innovation and development of Vietnam’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Citizens of Vietnam are invited to apply to compete for exposure, mentorship, and financial support in this national competition.

Startup Categories: The AEC is open to startups in one of three categories:

  • Idea and Prototyping Stage
  • Startup Stage
  • Social Entrepreneur (in either Idea or Startup Stages)

(See definition at the end of this post.)

Prizes and Benefits

Regional winners will receive mentorship and training from investors, incubators, and CEOs to help prepare for the final round of the national competition. The U.S. Mission will sponsor ONE representative from each team winning the Regional Competitions to participate in the National Competition in Hanoi.

  • Cash Prizes: $1,000 for 1st Prize; $750 for 2nd Prize; and $500 for 3rd Prize .
  • All three first prize winners receive a $5,000-scholarships to attend the Vietnam Executive MBA at the Shidler College of Business, University of Hawaii.
  • The first place winner of the Startup Stage receives a full scholarship to enroll in a Topica Founder Institute (TFI) Course and is eligible to receive a certificate from the Founder Institute Silicon Valley. The second and third place winners of the Startup stage attend 14 TFI sessions.
  • The 1st prize winners of the Startup Stage and Social Entrepreneurship receive 3-month free studios at Toong Co-working Space; 6-month hot-desks for the 2nd and 3rd prize winning teams in the same categories.
  • The Idea/Prototype Stage’s three winners receive free memberships from UP Co-working Space for 1 year, 6 months, and 3 months respectively.
  • The first place winner of the Social Entrepreneurship category has the option to convert the $1000 cash prize to attend a three-week accelerator program with Jolkona in Seattle.
  • Training, mentorship and networking opportunities.
  • Media exposure and publicity.
  • Training, mentorship, and network opportunities.
  • Pitch to potential investors.
  • Publicity and exposure that will help to market your project.
  • Free registrations to attend Babson Connect Worldwide in Madrid 2018 and Hatch Fair 2017 in Hanoi, HCMC and Danang.


  • WHO? Vietnamese nationals, currently living in Vietnam
  • WHEN? Application deadline is May 2, 2017
  • HOW? Apply online at http://goo.gl/lwe6BS


  • Tuesday, May 2, 2017: Application deadline
  • Mid-May: First Round Competition
  • Mid-May to mid-June 2017: First round winners receive virtual training and mentorship
  • June 13, 2017: First round winners receive in-person training in Hanoi
  • June 14, 2017: Final competition in Hanoi


  • Idea and Prototyping Stage
    The entrepreneur has research or a technology with commercialization potential.
    The entrepreneur has not started a business yet and is willing to start a business.
    The entrepreneur has defined the qualifications of a management team needed to execute the idea.
    The entrepreneur has started to identify advisors.
    The entrepreneur has started market research.
  • Startup Stage
    The venture is for profit.
    The venture is less than three years old from date of startup.
    The venture has some funding already—either through revenue, through external financing (from public or private sources), or a combination of both.
    The venture has a product or service that is currently in a testing or pilot stage and that can be made available for commercial
  • Social Entrepreneur (in either Idea or Startup Stages)
    The startup drives social innovation and transformation in various fields including education, health, environment, culture or enterprise development.
    The startup pursues poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial zeal, business methods, and the courage to innovate and challenge traditional practices.
    The startup builds strong and sustainable organizations, which are either set up as not-for-profits or companies.