Promising joint collaboration plans after first face-to-face meetings in Hanoi

The first face-to-face meetings of FOSS companies from Europe and Vietnam have passed over a month ago. We have received some very promising proposals of joint collaboration projects and another article on heise.de.

“Open Source schlägt Brücke zwischen Europa und Vietnam – Bei einem ersten Kontaktanbahnungstreffen der staatlich geförderten Initiative “FOSSBRIDGE” haben vietnamesische und europäische Geschäftspartner in Hanoi insgesamt 42 Kooperationsvereinbarungen abgeschlossen. Dies meldet die Plattform, die eine Brücke der Zusammenarbeit zwischen den beiden Regionen im Bereich “Freie und Open-Source-Software” (FOSS) schlagen will. Vor allem kleine und mittlere Unternehmen aus dem IT-Sektor nutzten demnach die Chance, sich gegenseitig nach dreimonatiger Online-Zusammenarbeit bei einem einwöchigen Arbeitstreffen Mitte November persönlich zu beschnuppern. Unter den Teilnehmern waren Firmen aus Vietnam, Belgien, Deutschland, Frankreich, Schweden und Spanien…” (26.11.2007 18:47, Stefan Krempl, heise.de)

We are looking forward to supporting companies in their projects. .. and I personally hope everyone will keep up the energy and commitment even though of the “catching-a-cold-period” and upcoming Christmas.

Interview with FOSSBRIDGE project manager Balthas Seibold in Telemedicus

An interview with Balthas was published in Telemedicus a few days ago, where he also explains the idea behind the FOSS Bridge project. In the talk he especially stresses the importance of joint collaboration rather than passive development aid.

Balthas Seibold

Konkret geht es darum, kleine und mittlere Unternehmen in den Ländern aufzubauen. Zum Beispiel machen wir in Vietnam gerade ein Projekt, in dem wir Unternehmen Geschäftsmodelle von freier Software vorstellen, um dort die IT-Industrie zu fördern. Durch technologische Entwicklung können so ganz neue Märkte geschaffen werden. Sehr oft hilft da die „Lokalisierung“, also die Übersetzung von Software in die entsprechende Landessprache. In Entwicklungsländern wird Software in lokalen Sprachen von den Unternehmen oft zunächst nicht als rentabel angesehen. Aber nachdem Free- und Open Source-Software, wie zum Beispiel Open Office, dazu übergegangen ist, etwa die Software in Kisuaheli zu übersetzen, sind dann auch andere kommerzielle Anbieter aufgewacht und haben nachgezogen, um in dem Markt keine Anteile zu verlieren – auch wenn er noch nicht als „Geldmarkt“ vorhanden ist. (Adrian Schneider, Internetökonomie und Ethik: Freie Inhalte und Entwicklungshilfe, 11.12.2007, Telemedicus)

Over 40 IT-companies cross FOSSBRIDGE between Europe and Vietnam

A total of 42 agreements of cooperation were reached between Vietnamese and European business partners at the end of the first matchmaking event of the project “FOSS Bridge EU-Vietnam” for small and medium-sized IT enterprises in Hanoi, Vietnam. The one-week event attracted over 40 IT companies from Vietnam and Germany, France, Spain, Belgium and Sweden, who all share an interest in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). In over 60 matchmaking encounters, they successfully discussed cooperation plans for joint business in Hanoi from 12 to 16 November – after three months of online interaction and matchmaking through a web platform on www.fossbridge.com.

FOSS Bridge EU-Vietnam is implemented by three key partners – InWEnt (Germany), INRIA (France) and the Institute of Information Technology (Vietnam) and supported by associate partner CENATIC from Spain. Financial support comes from the Asia-Invest programme of the European Commission and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ),

After the end of the “first matchmaking, twinning and training workshop of FOSS-Bridge”, Project manager Vu The Binh of IOIT concluded: “When the project started in March of this year, we did not expect such a large number of Vietnamese companies would join. This shows the huge interest of the Vietnamese IT communities in capturing the potential opportunities which FOSS can bring.”

The success of the twinning agreements for joint projects and business were due to the large interest of European and Vietnamese businesses, who are keen on working together to further develop their network and enhance their competitiveness through free and open software. Mr. Leo Barrientos from OpenSistemas, one of the Spanish companies taking part in the workshop says: “We achieved the maximum of what we expected for the week. We developed a collaboration plan with three Vietnamese partners with whom we will open a customer information centre in Hanoi.”

Vietnamese companies were particularly interested in technology exchange, capacity-building and know-how transfer, which is easy due to the availability of software code in the open source world. Concerning the business side, Mr. Vu Le Phuong from NCS Corporation says: “We originally thought of FOSS as a non-commercial software, but this week we actually met many European companies, partly very big ones, that are generating impressive business through FOSS. Our plans are to adapt FOSS for the needs of the Vietnamese market and increase the competitiveness of our company.”

Satisfied by the proven success of the very first twinning event in the field of open source, the consortium is committed to bringing FOSS partners from Europe and Vietnam further together. Mr. Balthas Seibold, Senior Project Manager of InWEnt Capacity Building International, Germany comments: “I am amazed by the results of this workshop. Many companies actually signed multiple agreements, and large companies like Bull, MySQL, OTRS of Europe and CMC Soft, Vietsoftware of Vietnam are on board of FOSS Bridge.” Ms Catherine Nuel representing INRIA added: “The organization of this event is an outstanding example of Inter-European as well as Vietnam-EU business cooperation. Until 2009, we will organize numerous training and capacity building programs aiming at local companies, business intermediaries and IT associations”.

The main goal of “FOSS-Bridge EU-Vietnam” is to develop business partnerships between software players in Vietnam and Europe. Cooperation is based on the innovative model of “Free and Open Source Software” (FOSS), which fosters open cooperation and joint building of software code worldwide. For that, each company from Vietnam is twinned with a counterpart from Europe for joint projects – increasing knowledge base and cooperation of the partners.