On the 28 – 29 of April, The SmartStart Hackathon 2018 took place on April 28-29 at The Factory, Phnom Penh’s newest co-working space, hosting 120 students in 30 tech startup teams who received training and coaching before the main pitching session on the final evening.

Of the 30 teams, only 15 were selected for a 5-day Technopreneur camp in Battambang in mid-May where guest speakers, network with mentors and hands-on activities that utilises software tools will be taught. The 5-day program will conclude with a pitching event where only 5 teams will be shortlisted.

The 2-day intensive Hackathon weekend started with students learning the importance of choosing suitable technology for different ideas, understanding customer prototyping and a talk by Sovan Srun, Co-Founder of education and tech startup Edemy, that focused on how to best understand users in order to ensure a successful startup.

In the afternoon, students learnt the importance of mapping out competitors, defining customers and finding a unique value proposition of their ideas. The afternoon ended with a talk by Hemkiry Song and Lay Keanghok, tech and design mentors of the hackathon, where they spoke about designing and how to communicate tech ideas fluently to judges.

Saturday evening was dedicated to teams creating a mockup fit for their tech ideas where they defined customer profiles and their competitors. With nerves on show on Sunday morning, the 30 teams tidied up their projects with user testing, and incorporated mentor feedback into their mockup pitch before the final pitching in the afternoon.

Teams had four minutes to pitch to one of two judging panels. Panel One had Kamaroudin Sos, Vice-Dean of ICT at Puthisastra University; Sopheakmonkol Sok, Co-founder of Codingate; Leakhena Long, Founder of Jooneak; and Alex Davis, Environment, Science, Technology & Health Officer at the U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh. The second panel of judges had Penhleak Chan, freelance tech consultant; Kaylan Achyutuni, Chief Information Officer of Smart; Chanda Pen, Founder of Bongloy; and Chea Sila, CEO of Sabay.

After much deliberation from the two judging panels, the 15 shortlisted teams that will be moving on to the 5-day Technopreneur camp in Battambang were chosen as: EFood, Brogrammer, SmartBin, Homex, Fixsman, Tos Rean, Der Lng, Walk With Me, Haystome, Somjot, FastFix, Startlance, APPEAR, Kexka, and Malis.

Well done to everyone who took part, and congratulations to all shortlisted teams. See you in Battambang on May 12 for an intense week of fun and learning!

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