D-Day. Not in the historical context, but Demo Day, the culmination of almost 4 months of hard work for the 11 teams going through the EPIC programme.
A panel of distinguished judges including Romy Cahyadi, Executive Director of UnLtd Indonesia, Laina Raveendran Greene, co-founder of Angels of Impact, Dary Dek, Managing partner of 360 ads & events, Pagna Ukthaun, Chief Operating Officer of WaterSHED Ventures and Mun Ching Yap, Executive Director of the Air Asia Foundation were introduced.
Stakeholders from Development Innovations and Impact Hub took the stage to address the audience as a sense of excitement filled the room in anticipation of the pitches that were to come.
Speaking to the teams, you could feel their passion and commitment to the projects they had put so much into over the past few months.
Meas Likun, a member of team Rat Hunter said, “What we hope to achieve at Demo Day is to be selected team to move on for the next stage of the EPIC programme.”
True enough, these sentiments were echoed across all the teams who had their mind set on being one of the 5 teams to move through to the acceleration phase where they would receive $20,000 worth of startup funding to see their projects come to life.
With that, the stage was set. All 11 teams, Mother’s Mall, Snadai Seapove Khmer, Mekong Farms, Rosnow Douy Sabay, Rat Hunter, My Dream Home, Food Processing Incubator, AgriToday, Edemy, and Eco Fresh Box left their hearts on stage as they delivered passionate, fiery and exciting pitches to the judges.
The teams were assessed in the areas of entrepreneurial leadership, their understanding of the problem at hand, the viability of their solution and the feasibility of their business model.
Each team also had to face questions from the judges following their 5 minute presentation to ensure that the judges could clarify any doubts they had over their project to give each of them the best chance of moving forward.
Two hours later, the pitches were over and the judges left the room to deliberate on the winning teams.
Taking the stage on behalf of the panel, Romy Cahyadi said that the judges had a “tight and heated debate” while trying to decide the winners and as such, felt compelled to nominate a runner-up alongside the 5 teams who would move on to the acceleration phase.
The runner-up was announced as My Dream Home, Kongngy Hav’s initiative to building sustainable and affordable housing for people in Cambodia.
The 5 teams moving through to the acceleration phase and receiving the $20,000 worth of startup support are as follows:
Eco Fresh Box
Food Processing Incubator
With that, the first major phase of the EPIC programme has come to an end. Organised by Impact Hub Phnom Penh in collaboration with USAID’s Development Innovations, the Demo Day was the climax of the first phase of Cambodia’s first year-long incubator which will now move into a 9 month acceleration period.
Laura Smitheman, co-founder of Impact Hub and programme manager for EPIC said, “EPIC’s goal is to accelerate the progress of impact-focused entrepreneurs. By providing them with seed-funding, access to mentors, consultants and most importantly investment networks, we’re confident EPIC will result in innovative solutions and business models.”