In the spotlight: ...

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In the spotlight: TOPICA Education Group

A $200,000 investment transforms incubation in Vietnam

Today we take a look back at the accomplishments of TOPICA Accelerator, which has grown from a grant-supported, university-housed incubator into Vietnam's leading online educator and business accelerator, employing 300 staff and over 900 instructors.

TOPICA Accelerator (website in Vietnamese) has provided onsite incubation to nine startups in all; out of the nine, six have graduated from the program, three have raised venture capital funding, and one has been acquired by a local media group.

In addition, its virtual incubation program TOPIC64 has served 64 learning centers throughout the country; 55 of them have graduated self-sustainably.

Beyond its vast offerings to the nation’s entrepreneurs, TOPICA has risen regionally as an incubation capacity-building powerhouse. In 2009, it joined forces with India’s PSG College of Technology - Science and Technology Entrepreneurial Park (PSG-STEP) to deliver training to 105 incubator managers in 15 countries in the East Asia Pacific region.

TOPICA is also operating the Vietnam chapter of the Founder Institute—a trial-by-fire Silicon Valley-based accelerator program that has expanded to 27 cities worldwide. TOPICA Founder Institute (website in Vietnamese) and its founder Tuan Pham have seen their success detailed in the New York Times.

In 2004, infoDev commissioned a feasibility study of a business incubator at Hanoi Technology University. The incubator, originally named CRC-TOPIC, was created over a period of three years with infoDev grants totaling just $200,000.

After securing the support of such partners as Microsoft, USAID, HP, and Electricity Vietnam, CRC-TOPIC spun off the university to become the private TOPICA Education Group.

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