For our third installment of “The Journey of: Technovation Cambodia 2018”, we had the chance to interview Angely Rose, team leader of Five Infinities, 1st place National Grand Prize Winner in the Junior Division, and the creators of the Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) Center mobile app.
MEP Center aims to aid communication between users and suppliers to ensure higher productivity and better time management.
Angely Rose shared with us her 12-week journey at Technovation, their future plans and some challenges they have faced while developing the app.
The following interview has been edited for clarity, length and flow.
Congratulations on your achievement at Technovation Cambodia 2018! How do you feel about being the 1st place National Grand Prize Winner from the Junior Division?
Angely Rose (AR): Our team feels extremely thankful to our mentors, supporters, audiences and all of those who have helped us through the long journey of Technovation. Without these people behind the scenes, our team would not have succeeded and attained such an achievement. I also feel really proud of my teammates and the immense amount of teamwork we have displayed throughout.
How was the experience during the 12-week intensive programme?
AR: The experiences we got were all very helpful, and prepared us for the future. Besides all the lessons we had, there were also a lot of fond memories forged together as a team. With everyone having a different opinion, there were times where we found it difficult to agree with one another on an idea. However, our team has learned to understand one another and work together, and we have learned coding, entrepreneurship, public speaking, problem solving and how to answer questions properly in a contest.
As students at the Liger Leadership Academy, how did your team cope with schoolwork and the 12-week programme?
AR: The journey could have been tedious and difficult for us, but we have learned to manage our time well. Sometimes we will have members absent due to the busy schedule of going on learning trips such as a Robotics trip to Singapore, and Geography trips to the provinces. Therefore, our team needed to be flexible when doing work.
What inspired your team to come up with MEP Center mobile application?
AR: Actually, we had a different idea in the beginning of the program. However, we found out that not many people were facing the problem we were addressing, so our app would be useless. The first reason to develop MEP is because my dad is a supplier in the MEP field and I often heard about his struggles to find customers to work with. We also observed that many people are actually facing this problem and we did a customer research and found out that 100% of the respondents were actually struggling with the problem that we identified. What inspired and encouraged us the most was when the company, Iching, ensured us that our app will 100% be launched, even if we are not selected for the world pitch.
You were taught computer programming, business ideas and conducted numerous research. How have all these new skills shaped the MEP Center as a mobile application?
AR: All of these new skills that we have learned such as programming, app designing and more have shaped the MEP Center to be a convenient app to use. Not only that, but the skills taught to conduct a business plan have greatly helped us in the future development of our app.
What are some challenges that you have faced, and how did you overcome them as a group?
AR: How to collaborate as a team was something not taught in class but is one of the most important skill to have in order to succeed. At first, we had a few struggles working with each other but we learned how to communicate and understand one another better. The technical aspects of the app were a challenge and it was not easy to learn all the technical skills needed to create the application, but our team tried their best to fix those errors to ensure the smooth running of our app.
What is your biggest takeaway from Technovation Cambodia 2018?
AR: I think it is having the ability to attempt to solve problems in our communities by using technology. In addition, we want to show the world and change the stereotype that girls are unable to code.
Do you have any future plans to improve the MEP Center mobile application?
AR: Yes, we have a lot of plans to improve the MEP Center in the future. We are going to create another version of the app in Khmer in 2019. After that, we are going to create new features based on the previous year’s feedbacks. Then, we are going to launch our app in other provinces and get more feedback to further improve our app.
Where do you hope to move together towards as a team?
AR: The next stage as a team is the launching of our app into the market. With the revenue collected, we are going to donate 10% to Kantha Bopha hospital, and another 10% to the Angel Organization. The remaining 80% will be used to sustain our business.
Do you have any words of encouragement you would like to give to aspiring female innovators?
AR: As the 1st place Junior winners of the National Pitch 2018, we would love to encourage all girls and females to participate more in technology and in the entrepreneurship field. Our country needs more human resources and entrepreneurs in technology. We have all experienced struggles and one thing we found out is that THE STEREOTYPE IS NOT CORRECT! You have the strength to do everything you want and become anyone you wish to be. Girls can code a wonderful app and run a really successful business. We can do it girls! Come on and show your potential!
From everyone at Geeks in Cambodia, we would like to wish Five Infinities all the best as they launch the MEP Center app and embark on greater endeavours with their studies and tech ideas.