The Demo and Investor Pitching Day – WISE Women Innovation Challenge

Ho Chi Minh City, October 22nd 2018 – Top 12 most innovative women-led startups of the WISE Women Innovation Challenge joined a Demo Day and Investor Pitching Event which was attended by over 120 participants who are investors, experts, startups and media. 

They pitched to a panel of experienced and prestigious investors and entrepreneurs.  As the final result, the winner of the Challenge is Abivin with the first innovation grant of $10,000; Cricket One received the runner up grant of $5,000, and an acceleration bootcamp prize in Switzerland in 2019 was awarded to True Juice. 



Invited to be a judge on the Investor Pitching Day, Linh Thai said “I am extremely impressed with the innovations from the WISE participants. Women are really strong and can be great entrepreneurs! ”. 

Other members of the Judge Board were Ms. Nguyen Phi Van: Chairman – Retail and Franchise Asia; Mr. Winfield Wong: Head of Wholesale Banking, HSBC Bank (Vietnam) Ltd., Mr. Eddie Thái: Partner, 500 Startups; Ms. Kelly Trần: Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR), VIISA; Founder of Appable; Mr. Hub Langstaff – Country Director, Swiss EP;  and Ms Ngô Hồng Điệp – Managing Director, WISE

The WISE Women Innovation Challenge propels innovative women-led startups and companies in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. As the first ever Mekong region startup and innovation competition exclusively for women, the Challenge gathered 210 applications in total within three months. 

“Twelve (12) most innovative finalists have qualified for our acceleration program since July to October 2018. These startups have the ability to scale, capacity to impact local communities, and potential to help solve key challenges”, said Tu Thu Hien, CEO of WISE. 


A finalist was pitching their business plan


The acceleration program included an intensive bootcamp helping them improve and refine their business models and build networks, and frequent opportunities to connect and work with international and local experts, mentors and investors.

“The startups in the WISE program are excellent by international standards and some of them are ready to raise funds internationally. We will be working closely with WISE to help these startups in this process”, said Keith Ippel, CEO of Spring Accelerator, Canada, WISE’s acceleration partner.

“It is great to have a startup competition for women only. Though we have joined several acceleration program, we highly value the quality of WISE mentors and the international network that WISE connects us to”, said VDES, one of the finalists. 


Participants who attended the Demo Day


Startups showcased in the final Demo Day and Investor Pitching Event includes: Abivin, Boom Potty, Cricket One, Food Map, Go Explore, Konesi – Myanmar, New Idea Enterprise – Cambodia, Rakuna, Takiu, True Juice, Virtual Desire Events (VDEs), and Vietnam Electronic Medical Record (VNEMR).


The Demo Day is the final round of the WISE Women Innovation Challenge which was launched in March 2018 and attracted over 200 applications. At this important event, 12 finalists will present their pitches and receive questions, feedback from the Judge Board. The top winners will then be determined and granted with awards.

  • Time: from 13:30, Monday, October 22nd 2018
  • Venue: Sai Gon Innovation Hub, 273 Dien Bien Phu, Ward 7, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Click to register:

(Note: First come, first served basis is applied. Confirmation will be emailed to successful participants)


The event is open for participants who are:

  1. Individuals and organizations in the startup ecosystem of Vietnam and Mekong Region or those who support women economic empowerment and innovative startups
  2. Investors who are looking for great startups for potential investment and cooperation
  3. Startups who wish to learn from the top 12 teams by listening to their pitches and feedback from the Judges who are well-known experts and investors.
  4. Media partners who are looking for great success stories and inspirational cases of women startups and entrepreneurship

Read about 12 finalists here

Read about distinguished judges here

For further assistant, email to or inbox WISE Facebook Page @



1. What are startups under the WISE Women Innovation Challenge?

  • Applicants must be a national of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar or Vietnam
  • Your startup has operated for less than 5 years.
  • Your startup is led by a woman or have at least one woman in the founder team and the she has to be the one apply to the Challenge.


2. What kinds of businesses are eligible?

Women led startups in any sector are all welcome.


3. Can I apply for the WISE Challenge when I just have an idea for startups?

The WISE Challenge is for female-led startups which are beyond the proof of concept. You should have a prototype product (good/service/solution) even if it is not yet sold to the market. The product should offer a solution to a current problem and aim to have a big enough market to attract investors and go sustainable.

If you just have an idea for startups and you are welcome to apply then we may refer you to one of our partners to help you turn your idea into products and markets and you can reapply to the Challenge next year.


1. Do I have to speak and present in English?

Startups are expected to speak and present in English. However, to encourage women with limited English capacity but good innovation, language support is provided. If the woman founder cannot present in English, then another team member (man founder or staff) who can speak English can present on her behalf.


2. Does it cost $$$ to apply?

No. It’s totally free and you have nothing to lose.


3. Who are the judges?

Judges will be successful entrepreneurs, investors (angel and/or venture capital), accelerator managers and startups and innovation experts.


4. What resources are available for participants of WISE Challenge?

Participation in the WISE Challenge will enable you to take advantage of the resources and investment by WISE and our partners for the program.

✓If you are shortlisted, you will be offered an acceleration service package worth of $5,000 as well as be referred to relevant partners’ programs.

✓If you are not shortlisted, you will still have chance to be invited to WISE’s training programs, mentorship program, networking events and WISE’s support in marketing and communication.

Participants in the WISE Challenge will have the opportunities to showcase their products and solutions to WISE partners in a series of public events relating to Startup and Innovation that WISE and its partners will organize.


5. What do I get if I win? Are there multiple winners?

You will get a package of acceleration services worth $5000 as short-listed applicants

If you win, you will get the prize as following:

✓1st prize: 10,000 USD

✓2nd prize: 5,000 USD

✓An acceleration bootcamp – 1 week in Switzerland


6. Where/How do I apply? When is the deadline?

You will apply online via a platform. The deadline will be May 31th.


7. If I want to be involved in the WISE Challenge as an investor or sponsor, what should I do?

You are most welcome to join us, just email


What is WISE?

Women’s Initiative for Startups and Entrepreneurship (WISE) was established with the support of the Mekong Business Initiative), funded by the Government of Australia and the Asian Development Bank, in cooperation with Swiss EP and Sai Gon Innovation Hub (SiHUB). WISE cooperates with a network of organizations and programs to assist women in startups and businesses within the Mekong region.

WISE is launching an innovation challenge. The program encourages, supports, and fosters startups and small businesses founded or led by women. Participating startups and small businesses must have a founding member from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar or Viet Nam.

WISE Women Innovation Challenge is part of a family of MBI innovation challenges, including MATCh an Agritech incubator, Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) which focuses on travel tech, Fintech Challenge Vietnam (FCV) directed at financial technology innovations, and the SMART City Innovation Challenge.


Women face greater challenges raising funds and obtaining comprehensive support for their business ventures than their male counterparts.

  • Only 3% of venture capital firms have woman CEOs. – CNN Money
  • Only 13% of early-stage investment funds are given to companies run by woman entrepreneurs.- TechCrunch
  • 86% of venture capital funded businesses have no women in management. – Babson

Every Startup Needs a Step Up

WISE recognizes that women have innovative ideas that hold serious potential, but that they need support to realize their ideas and grow their businesses. The WISE Women Innovation Challenge is the Mekong region’s first woman-focused innovation challenge with intensive support. Mirroring other challenges of MBI, support extends beyond the competition stage.

What do you get?

The WISE Women Innovation Challenge participants are given the opportunity to network with E&I experts, mentors, investors, regional and local innovation ecosystem players. Finalists will participate in an acceleration program where they will receive business model analysis, financial guidance and opportunities for funding from regional and international investors. After a 6-week acceleration period, finalists will have the opportunity to present their innovations at a pitch event in competition for prizes and support packages.

The proposal submission period begins March 28th 2018 and lasts until May 31.