The seed for AngkorHUB was sown on a beach near Sihanoukville more than two years ago.
But it was in the tourist town of Siem Reap where the innovative business sprouted.
AngkorHUB, the brainchild of Canadian Jeff Laflamme, is a co-working space or shared office space, on Angkor Night Market Street, close to the city’s heart.
The space is designed to accommodate business people or anyone who needs to use office facilities while they are in Siem Reap on a pay-to-use basis.
But right from the beginning, Laflamme wanted it to be more than just a place for people to work. He wanted a business with social values.
“When I started, the main thing was to provide an incubator program,” Laflamme said.He particularly wanted this to benefit local people.
“The main thing about AngkorHUB is to help young Cambodian entrepreneurs to start businesses.”
He admitted it has been hard to attract Cambodians to the hub but he hopes that will change in the future.
“Co-working spaces are really useful for entrepreneurs,” he explained. “Eighty per cent of people using co-working space are making more revenue.
“For me, I really believe that young Cambodians are the future of the society. There are not enough entrepreneurs. I want to plant the seed as much as I can.”
The communal air-conditioned workspace can accommodate 10 to 20 people at a time and there are plans to expand.
A generator, which runs on biofuel, ensures people can work through power cuts.
Laflamme, who has a background in IT, was working as a digital nomad when the business idea came to him and he said digital nomads are increasingly using the space.
But it is much more than a temporary office. Laflamme is passionate about networking and building communities.
He said the space offered a chance to share ideas and knowledge and to collaborate and he would like to see more NGOs use the space and sharing ideas.
“It’s an office amenity and also, more importantly, it’s a community because people – they’re becoming co-workers,” he said.
Laflamme is also developing a directory, which he describes as a “matchmaking platform” to link people with needs to people who want to help – in a similar ethos to the co-working space.
“I want to network people together and have a platform to make it easy.”