Young entrepreneurs in ASEAN countries should ensure
environmental sustainability while doing business, the secretary of the
Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union has said.
Nguyen Phi Long, speaking to 65 young businesspeople from the 10 ASEAN member countries and China, Japan, and South Korea at a four-day economic forum in HCM City on Saturday, said the recent global economic crisis clearly showed that the development model based on natural resources and capital needed to be changed into a new sustainable one.
Economic development that exhausts resources, destroys the environment and causes social disharmony would be a steep price to pay, he said.
The ASEAN Community, which will come into effect at the end of this month, is expected to create opportunities for young entrepreneurs, who hope to stay networked.
But Long told the forum, titled ASEAN+3 Young Entrepreneurs Toward Sustainable Development, that young people should not develop their businesses based on natural resources and cheap labour.
Instead, they should depend on creativity and technology, he said.
"Asia and the world can only develop in a sustainable way if priority is given to human interest and environmentally-friendly growth," he said.
"Young entrepreneurs should be in the vanguard of sustainable development. I hope all of you make use of the creativity of youth for sustainable business models for the community's benefit."
Dr Erawan Tubplee, president of Thailand's SMEs Young Entrepreneurs Association and a man who runs education, fashion, real estate, and restaurant businesses, said he strongly agreed about doing business sustainably.
"I feel much excited for the ASEAN Economic Community. With the community, it is easier for collaboration with other colleagues in the community. We will be able to share knowledge."
"Sustainable regional economic development is important, and young entrepreneurs have a vital role in building a strong AEC," he said.
He foresees many opportunities with the formation of the ASEAN Community, and encourages young entrepreneurs to invest in member countries.
Neth Inra Sothythen, a young entrepreneur from Cambodia, said he wanted to learn more about the ASEAN Community and the role of entrepreneurship and young people's responsibilities.
"As a citizen of ASEAN, I am very excited to see the community being established. I think the establishment will bring a lot of positive outcomes to the community."
Nguyen Minh Hieu, a first year student at International University who is set on becoming an entrepreneur, said he was attending the forum to learn from other businesspeople.
"I see much opportunity for Viet Nam, which is among the four less developed countries in ASEAN. However, the competition will help Viet Nam grow better.
"Becoming a member of the ASEAN Community and Trans-Pacific Partnership will help Viet Nam become a stronger country. I am very excited about that."
When the community is established, entrepreneurs from regional countries would bring knowledge to Viet Nam, he said.
Thirteen young entrepreneurs, nominated by the attendees, were honoured at the forum for their contributions to sustainable development.
The four-day event is being organised by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, National Committee on Youth of Viet Nam, and Viet Nam Youth Federation. — VNS