Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Young ICT innovators awarded funds, help

Young ICT innovators awarded funds, help

Young ICT innovators awarded funds, help

Winners of the SmartStart Young Innovator Program were announced yesterday with five teams awarded funding and support to bring their technology-related business ideas to market.

The three-month competition organised by local telecom Smart Axiata began with 30 teams in February. Fifteen finalists pitched their ideas yesterday to a panel of judges, with the five best projects set to receive $4,000 in funding and six months of incubation services.

The winning teams addressed needs and business opportunities in a variety of industries, including Gosoccer, a platform for booking futsal fields in Phnom Penh; Spare, a service connecting renters with tenants; and Prestige Gift, a company providing gift consultation and delivery. The other two winning teams were Be-First, an app for learning Khmer, and Sopheakmongkol, a one-stop wedding-planner platform.

Speaking after the event, Smart Axiata CEO Thomas Hundt said he was very impressed by the outcome of the competition and the level of development reached by the finalist teams, especially considering that all the participants have yet to complete their university degree. He added that for the five ventures selected for the incubation program, the most difficult part lies ahead as they must now work to produce market-ready products.

“We are talking about university students, we are not talking about people that have left university five years ago and have already accumulated professional experience or career experience,” he said.

“But what is needed from there is the same continuous amount of passion going forward because the hard work is actually starting now.”

Kan Channmeta, secretary of state at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, said Cambodian youth were making impressive strides in both ICT literacy and entrepreneurship. He said the challenge now would be to increase participation at an earlier age.

“We need innovation capacity at the high school level, we don’t want to have it just at the university level,” he said.

“We also need more mobilisation in terms of university participation as a first step and then extend it more. The more participation, the more innovation.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said