Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Driving force behind Cambodia’s budding inno-tech market



Driving force behind Cambodia’s budding inno-tech market

Driving force behind Cambodia’s budding inno-tech market

Overshadowed by the big guns of mobile telecoms technology, internet service providers, and the smartphone industry, the start-up market for digital innovation was barely more than a haltingly growing seedling.

In 2013, with funding from USAID – which noticed a gap in the Cambodian innovation market – came about the creation of Development Innovations (DI) in a bid to foster joint efforts among the tech community, technology companies, and NGOs here.

Its innovation lab, according to Jesse Orndorff, DI’s innovation program manager, is “a co-working space for civil society, with a grant fund to help fund technology ideas, technology event space, and an internship program for youth Cambodians interested in working with technology.”

Prioritising technology ideas that focus on solving development challenges in the Kingdom, the fairly young DI team is now a team of 15 that offers hands-on activities and training for video production centering around storytelling, camera techniques, and video editing.

DI is the missing piece that is sealing the tech market industry in Cambodia, having formed previous partnerships with national household-name brands Ezecom, Cellcard, and MyTeb, since its inauguration.

Orndorff emphasises on the fact that “part of our aim is to help foster partnerships with the private sectors and connect them to project they’d be interested in sponsoring.”

One of the firm’s biggest accomplishments was in 2014 when they gave Cambodians a digital voice by helping to develop a Khmer keyboard app for smartphones. Vanna Kruy, a software engineer who helmed the initially hopeless development, as he had nowhere to turn to for help, said, “I wanted to develop this keyboard app, but I felt alone. I posted a picture on Facebook, and someone commented: ‘You should come to the [DI’s] 5D Lab!’” The rest was history, and in April 2015, it was the number one Khmer language app in Cambodia’s smartphone app market, with over 170,000 downloads for smartphones.

While Orndoff sees user design to be the biggest hurdle to overcome in the next few years, he is happy to declare that the DI lab is open to working with anyone interested in addressing development challenges through technology.

“We would love to connect with anyone that has an interest or idea in technology. We are here to coach and provide resources to the community, and our team maintains open office hours and a new coaching lab for the community to test their ideas.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro