Geeks in Cambodia Geeks in Cambodia Fri, 22 Sep 2017 09:14:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Learn more with Impact Hub’s Networking Night: Education Tue, 26 Sep 2017 03:54:22 +0000 Samantha Fuentes Impact Hub Phnom Penh has an awesome treat for all those in the Education sector with their upcoming education-centric Networking Night! Happening tomorrow at Impact Hub’s main co-working space from 6pm to 8pm, this event is definitely an opportunity for all those interested in Education to network and share ideas with other like-minded individuals!

Done monthly in partnership with EZECOM, a premium Internet Provider in the Kingdom; each month focuses on a different theme. Past themes include Digital Tech, Food and Agriculture, Sustainable Livelihoods; and this month, it’s all about Education!

The night will begin with a casual networking session till around 6.30pm and thereafter, participants can expect to hear from exciting speakers about their businesses, their thoughts on education in Cambodia and why it is important.

This event will see Ashley Iriving, Principal of prominent English Language School ACE; as well as Monirath Siv, Impact Hub Community member and Founder and CEO of Teach for Cambodia. The former will be talking about the importance of the English Language in today’s working world and how they can help students who are planning to study abroad, and the latter will share about the high importance of education in Cambodia, the current problems it faces and all about his startup journey.

The event will end off with another opportunity to network over free nibbles and canapés, allowing participants to further discuss about ideas brought up during the night’s inspiring series of talks.

Networking Night: Education is also free-of-charge and highly sought after, hence if you are really interested in coming down, do sign up here to secure a spot! For more information, you can visit their event page here as well.

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Inspire Asean ‘17: Gain insight into SEA’s Future of Finance Fri, 22 Sep 2017 07:44:53 +0000 Samantha Fuentes Inspire Asean is back for a second run and this time, it’s all about FinTech! Held at the Hotel Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra on 29 September from 1.30pm to 6pm, Inspire Asean ‘17: The Future of Finance plans to bring business professionals a unique opportunity to learn a thing or two from the revolutionising innovators themselves.

This event is specially designed for the leaders of tomorrow, bringing the world’s leading thinkers and entrepreneurs together to share their expertise and inspire the audience comprised of the new generation of business professionals and decision makers– all in one of the world’s most dynamic markets.

Attendees, who span from young professionals to top level management, can expect to learn important outside information to propel their careers forward. From getting down to the nuts and bolts of day-to-day business practices to learning about the latest trends and management methods in business, participants can expect to gain the relevant guidance needed to enhance their personal and company development and go a step further.

 As part of the event’s programmes, Inspire Asean ‘17 will be inviting speakers from all over the world, who will be presenting a series of lively and engaging 30-minute presentations that will definitely pass on invaluable information to the audience.

 As of now, the speakers who will be imparting their knowledge during the event are Sim Chankiriroth, Founder & CEO at BanhJi, a free and localized online accounting software built for ASEAN MSMEs; as well as Brad Jones, CEO @ Wave Money, a digital financial services joint venture owned by Telenor Group, First Myanmar Investments (FMI) and Yoma Bank. The talks will definitely be very enriching with the former having over 14 years of experience in finance at senior levels both as an executive and in an advisory capacity as well as being a serial entrepreneur, and the latter being an experienced executive who specializes in digital finance, mobile money and business transformation in developing markets like Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

 After the exciting presentations, attendees can participate in interactive panel discussions to value-add to the information they just acquired. Finally, the event will end off with a bang, where participants and speakers can enjoy a cocktail as they network with other like-minded individuals in a relaxed space.

If you’re ready to get inspired, you can register here just for the price of USD$125, which includes a conference kit, a coffee break and networking cocktail. And even better news for our Geeks in Cambodia network as you can receive a 20% discount on tickets till 28 September if you use the code ‘GEEKSINCAMBODIA’; so make sure you don’t miss out on this awesome event! For more information, you can visit their website as well.

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Business Opportunities for Cambodian Women (Featuring an interview with Techlifestyle) Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:00:00 +0000 Samantha Fuentes In Cambodia, there is a rather high number of female entrepreneurs in the community with around 65% of business owners being female. Due to this high number, there are currently a handful of organizations and competitions that are notably female-centric, so as to promote the growth of female businesses and entrepreneurship.

Some of these organizations and competitions that help propel women entrepreneurs to greater heights are SHE InvestmentsWeCreate and Technovation Challenge by Iridescent. All of these different efforts help give women a wide array of platforms and programmes to seek support, get information specific to them and even give them an avenue to shine and show off their innovative talents.

On top of that, a lot of these efforts are being introduced consistently, showing how much support there is to help women learn new things, hone their talents or just provide them with valuable information on how to go about with their businesses. For example, SHE Investments just recently launched their Business Information Platform for Women called Ngeay Ngeay.

Besides that, here’s a quick summary of what these organizations and programmes are and what they offer:


Speaking of Technovation, we at Geeks in Cambodia had the opportunity to interview the girls from Techlifestyle, the team who clinched first place in the Junior Division back in April 2017 by creating an app called Pre-Health. This application was created to provide health service-related information to people and encourage them to take charge of their health and enhance their own well-being. During the interview, they shared with us about their experiences going through the Technovation Challenge, their future plans and even some advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

The following interview has been edited for clarity, length and flow.

What were your experiences like, participating in the workshops, being under mentorship, and then finally pitching at the Technovation event?

Techlifestyle (T): After joining Technovation,we feel that the experiences were both arduous and agitating at the same time. Sometimes, it was very complicated to work with each other and we had a lot of conflicts, but we still pushed each other until we succeeded, and eventually won the National Pitch.

What do you think made your innovation stand out from the rest, allowing your team to come out as the winner?

T: The thing that made our innovation stand out from the rest and allowing us to come out as the winner for National Pitch Junior Division was the fact that our app had a good business strategy and it was easy to use; making it helpful for all Cambodian’s lifestyles.

What are some of the future plan for your innovation?

T: Our optimal future plan for our innovation is to make the mobile application even more high quality, make it more helpful to Cambodians and have the application advertised all over the world.

What was the biggest takeaway from this event?

​​T: Our biggest takeaway from this event were the different kinds of skills we learnt– including coding skills, writing business skills, collaborations, speech preparation, lessons on how to advertise our app and good presentation skills.

What are some advice or words of encouragement that you would like to share with aspiring young female entrepreneurs in Cambodia?

Naka:​ ​Don’t think that just because you are a girl, you cannot be involved with technology like boys. You should participate in technology too!

Dalen:​ Though there may be hard situations, you should never give up. Continue working till you reach success.

Kakrona:​ Even if you fail the competition, be optimistic because it is part of the experience. You can always try it again next time.

Dyna:​ In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.

Vuochnea:​ ​Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on to improving your innovation instead.

From this interview alone, it looks like the future for female entrepreneurs seems extremely promising; especially with an array of support systems and opportunities where females can really hone their innovation skills. As for Techlifestyle, receiving such an award at a young age is truly an inspiration and they have really shown us that as long as you have the willpower and enthusiasm for your business idea, you will have no problem succeeding ultimately though the journey towards success may be hard!

So if you’re feeling inspired and are interested in fulfilling your entrepreneurship dreams just like these girls, you’re in luck because you can register for the upcoming Technovation Challenge. Though registration will not be open till 18 October 2017, you can subscribe to their website to get updates and an email blast when registrations officially begin.


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EPIC Showcase 2017: A Retrospective Tue, 19 Sep 2017 05:00:10 +0000 Samantha Fuentes EPIC had their first ever showcase last Friday, 18 September from 8.45am to 12pm at Raintree; featuring various engaging talks about EPIC, their shortlisted 5 teams and other topics related to social innovation!

The event kicked off with 2 keynote remarks by USAID Cambodia’s Deputy Mission Director, Ms. Veena Reddy, and His Excellency Mr. Chek Lim, Deputy General Director of Youth, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports; who expressed their deep appreciation for the overwhelming support for the EPIC programme and promised their continued support for aspiring youth entrepreneurs.

Kate Heuisler from Development Innovations continued the programme by commending the 5 teams who have been extremely passionate and enthusiastic in defining their own path based on their dreams, despite it not being an easy route.

The EPIC Showcase served as an opportunity to take a look back on the past 9 months of the programme and see how they can further grow for the next edition of the programme too. As mentioned by Impact Hub’s Program and Innovation Director, Laura Smitheman, EPIC will be especially looking for startups revolving around Agriculture and Education the next round. This comes in line with their desire in joining the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to increase the value of the programme.

Maintaining the same format but re-imagined in a new and innovative way, the programme is planned to be compressed into half a year rather than 1 year, with participants expected to dedicate at least 12 hours per week and have a strong, clearly-defined idea with a basic, but validated prototype.

Future plans of expanding the EPIC programme are also in the talks. Currently, they have formed a regional programme that contains various materials such as a Playbook that acts as a toolkit to provide anyone with the information to start their own incubators, a support programme that features one-on-one coaching to support facilitation of incubator programme, a mentors pool where the region’s best minds can provide high level support, a website to promote the activities of all regional EPIC programmes and incubated ventures and finally, a platform which will act a central point of sharing amongst EPIC’s facilitating partners in terms of contacts, learning experiences and stories.

Besides that, it is expected that EPIC will be introduced in the Southeast Asian Region, especially in Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines by late 2018. This is their aim for their next 3 to 4 years as they plan for this to be a powerful way to make entrepreneurs focus on different SDGs.

Inspiration was also brewing for the aspiring entrepreneurs present at the event with Ganesh Muren, CEO & Founder of Saora Industries, and Pagna Ukthaun, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of WaterSHED Ventures, sharing about their own personal venture stories.

Ganesh Muren shared about  ‘Life as a Social Entrepreneur’, expressing how his childhood background pushed him to give back to rural areas using his water system technology. He went on to advise the participants to always stay grounded and relevant, to keep a positive mindset and to never be afraid of being rejected.

On the other hand, Pagna Ukthaun shared about ‘Marketing to the bottom of the pyramid’ where he talked about the challenges faced when selling products to society’s most underserved communities. He shared stories about how he had to steer away from traditional marketing methods and think innovatively so as to empower those in rural communities to make their own buying decisions and see the necessity of having such products.

The main highlight of the event, however, was definitely the Panel with the 5 selected teams; E House, Eco Fresh Box, Edemy, Rat Hunter and UniQFood, moderated by Pagna Ukthaun. During the panel, the teams were given the opportunity to share their experiences, from the lessons they learnt, challenges faced and advice they give to other aspiring social entrepreneurs.

Exciting Panel Discussion with the 5 EPIC Programme teams

Exciting Panel Discussion with the 5 EPIC Programme teams

Here’s a brief summary of what each of the teams shared:

Created based on one of their team member’s experiences living alone in apartment surrounded by gangs, E House is a platform where females can easily find reliable and accessible information about safe housing at any area in Cambodia. They advise entrepreneurs to also have a strong team because though it may be harder to manage, it ultimately helps to increase the efficiency of work.

The effective vegetable storage product is made from natural materials which is bamboo and burlap that helps poor farmers reduce vegetable wastage. Based on their own experiences balancing their own full time jobs and this project, they said it is important to maintain good relations with the team and shower each other with love to form a strong core. Furthermore,  they said that it is important that the business thinks about the users first and be open to change.

  • Edemy

Providing quality english education to Cambodian schools using a blended approach of combining offline technology with local teachers, this team shared about their fears and plans for future scaling. They mentioned about how these rural areas are very resource-restrained, both in terms of human resource and logistics, but they learnt to slowly think of ways to work around it. They ended off with advising participants to take their time when it comes to following your passion.

As an innovative solution to control pest control for farmers, one of the main challenges this team faced was not understanding the situation entirely, in terms of not knowing that there were actually many different species of rats around. Through collaboration with the farmers themselves, they advised aspiring entrepreneurs to also listen to the customers and accept new ideas that come their way as that is how they can get new inspiration for their products.

  • UniQ Food

Focused on developing food processing technologies that can be transferred to family-based and SME food suppliers, this team shared their experiences of rethinking their business model following the market’s needs, showing the need to be flexible and tailor their services to each customer as they all have different needs. They also encouraged the audience by telling them to never give up and to take action on their ideas.

You can watch the full video of the panel discussion with the amazing top 5 teams here.

The event ended off with an interesting talk titled ‘Financing Impact – The role of impact investing in scaling social ventures’ by Satoko Kono, President of ARUN. The talk helped to give more insight on how impact investment is providing more opportunities to harness entrepreneurship and capital markets to drive social improvement.

This EPIC Showcase was certainly a jam-packed morning of inspiration and knowledge and we at Geeks in Cambodia are looking forward to seeing how these projects further unfold! If you are interested in attending events like these and supporting the 5 EPIC teams on the last leg of their entrepreneurship journey to the epic finale, you can keep updated with EPIC’s Facebook page here. And if you are interested in participating in the next edition of the EPIC programme, do visit their website here to get more details on their upcoming activities.


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Launch of Khmer Rouge History Educational Website for Young Cambodians Mon, 18 Sep 2017 10:47:50 +0000 Samantha Fuentes The world’s leading Khmer Rouge Archive, the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), has officially launched its new multimedia educational website  – Khmer Rouge History. With Her Excellency Ton Sa-Im, Under-Secretary of State from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport presiding over the launch, this online platform was released on 8 September 2017, with the aim of educating Cambodians about this dark period in history.

Sparked by DC-Cam’s central message of keeping history alive and relevant and desire to include the Khmer Rouge in high school curriculum, the website itself was designed using a curated selection of sleek and minimal elements, along with DC-Cam Archive’s raw and rare historical materials.

This was to create a more immersive environment for young people to understand the history behind the Khmer Rouge, especially since over 70% were born after that era. “A society cannot know itself if it does not have an accurate memory of its own history,” DC-Cam’s Executive Director, Youk Chhang mentions.

To help youths understand the course of events that have occurred, a series of interesting interactive features were implemented to complement their learning. This includes:

  • A timeline spanning from the 1920s to 2015, highlighting important events

  • A built-in Encyclopedia that covers over 40 topics including the infamous Tuol Sleng prison, Pol Pot, forced marriages and Khmer Rouge Tribunal

  • A dynamic blog that constantly updates new research findings and the latest Khmer Rouge-related news

  • A profile page that includes personal stories from both members of the Khmer Rouge and victims of the tragic regime, along with videos and soundbites so users can hear the stories from the eyewitnesses themselves

  • A linked Facebook page that offers additional educational materials and allows users to share their own thoughts and stories about the genocide regime

All these unique features play a part in elevating the newly-released platform, so as to create various discussion platforms to keep the stories of the Khmer Rouge period alive amongst the Kingdom’s people till today. It also “opens the door to a deeper understanding of this part of Cambodian history”, as said by Kyle James, a consultant from DW Akademie.

Apart from that, this platform was further made accessible through its ability to be responsive since it can be used on an array of digital platforms, such as smartphones, computers and even tablets. This helps to make something of the past way more relatable to the youth of today, especially by using mediums that truly resonate with them.

This project was also worked in collaboration with DW Akademie, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.  Also, the website was realised by Phnom Penh-based creative agency, Endorphine Concept in terms of design and programming; the same agency that runs Geeks in Cambodia.

If you are interested in learning more about the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, that took the lives of over 1.7 million people between 1975 and 1979, visit the website here.

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