A little big bang

Posted on January 18, 2015 by

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Op-Economica, Jan 17, 2015 — I almost forgot what is the date of today as there were a couple of events happening from the morning until late afternoon…

In the morning, we gathered at Trung Nguyen Cafe 52 Hai Ba Trung (National Library) where some speakers discussed about books, reading habit, lessons learned, etc. under the program promoted by Trung Nguyen Coffee and Vietnamese Youth Federation.

Few days ago, we finalized a survey questionnaire for attempting a deep research study into entrepreneurial process and countrywide entrepreneurship.

We need few hundred responses (each contains answers to 25 questions, many are directly related under our research paradigm i2Metrix, and most are indirectly related) to model after some rather complex frameworks to learn about:

  • Actual states of entrepreneurs and hence the entrepreneurship processes
  • Major influential processes that span the entrepreneurial space
  • Expectation, basis for performance, influence of psychological factors, real value of entrepreneurs support and mentoring programs
  • Socio-cultural and economic spaces that entrepreneurship processes interact with and induce during the course of actions taken by entrepreneurs
  • And the like.

The main workhorse is statistical modeling method of dichotomous / polytomous logistic regression, and the major block of data will tend to be categorical (nominal or ordinal).

This first attempt will focus solely on Vietnam. But as we, together with J.E. Austin & Associates, are serving as a major regional research coordinator for the U.S. Department of State-financed Tigers@Mekong program, the survey in other ASEAN countries will follow very shortly (Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand). In Thailand, we luckily have our research colleague – Dr Dolly Samson, the adviser to i2Metrix – to help on part of the survey work.

But we know that the beginning must happen in Vietnam, where the design of survey comes from, and where for us the entrepreneurs’ dynamism has been known. Still, although the questionnaire is ready, gaining confidence to start off the surveying process was kind of difficult.

Then, we met in the morning and decided to kick it off in the afternoon gathering of Hanoi’s students and entrepreneurs-to-be at Vietnam National University, Hanoi. Even after the decision was made, I was still nervous as previous experience told me that unpredictability of the survey outcome could hardly be avoided.

Our colleague distributing questionnaire

Our colleague distributing questionnaire

I told my colleagues “20 responses should be a success. And if you guys receive only 2, that small number won’t be surprising.” Of course, as we guessed roughly 400 people would attend the event, collecting less than 20 would be dismal. But we have been no novice in this type of work, a failure is hardly anything new.

… 3:00PM, one of my colleagues sent a text: “More than 200 forms distributed. 169 responses collected.”

I could not believe in my eyes. I thought to myself: “There must have been some mistake with this text message. Maybe 19, or worse 16.”

The next message was sent from another colleague: “About 200 responses collected.”

The latter clearly erased the doubt over the former.

An hour later, we could confirm the outcome of the survey at this event alone: 230 responses.

This is truly spectacular.

Early participants filling out the form

Early participants filling out the form

The response rate is quite high, 230 (collected) out of 280 (sent).

And this is just the first event. We expect to perform similar data collecting tasks for roughly 10 events like this in the coming weeks.

Now that I think of 1000+ responses for Vietnam alone. How about Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand?

In fact, a separate study of Vietnamese entrepreneurship will be performed first as a satisfactory data set will arrive first. We hope upon the completion of this early draft, other research teams will be even better motivated to make their data sets available for comparative analysis.

This little ‘big bang’ has been important as to restoring our confidence in the data collecting process. It looks more likely now that the data set will enable us to establish more complex relationships between qualitative factors, and also with quantitative ones. New, and hopefully deeper, insights may then be obtained. Some of them can serve to be serious policy implications and actionable.

There is no better way for us to conclude the day than seeing this outcome…

So, thanks to all my colleagues for the great effort and job well done today. If I remember correctly, we are going to have another data event tomorrow.

So, good luck, again while our little universe started expanding already…


DHVP Research (Tigers@Mekong Program)