Meet Cambodia’s Technovation World Pitch 2019 Finalist Team – LiterTree!

Geeks in Cambodia would like to congratulate the LiterTree team, who will be representing Cambodia in the final stage of the world’s largest tech entrepreneurship program for young women, Technovation!

Naeng-Norng is a platform which will reignite the Kingdom’s love for Khmer poetry! Through the word-search function, readers to find connective words with similar phrasing. The in-app lessons will also teach users more about composing poems and literature!

The LiterTree team will be representing Cambodia at the World Pitch next week in San Francisco! In the meantime, Geeks in Cambodia has spoken to them about their accomplishments, and how they have prevailed through their struggles as a team.

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

How do you feel about this accomplishment and how has the journey been like for you thus far? 

LiterTree (L): We feel really happy because all we wanted to do is learn about technology and get involved in the technology field. But, after joining  Technovation, we really feel like we want to learn more, as they gave us chances to compete and feel like real role models. We didn’t make it to the national stage, so it was unbelievable for us to make it to the World Pitch. We are so excited about this opportunity to pitch our idea and represent Cambodia in San Francisco. Technovation really doesn’t just teach us about technology and business, but we are also learning about life and overcoming difficulties as a team.

How much has the idea changed since it was first formulated? 

L: We initially wanted to create a health application that would link people with health issues with doctors. But we thought about it and realised that there are many health applications out there already, so we wanted to create a unique application. Another idea that we had was related to agriculture and helping farmers sell their products, but it has been made before as well.

What motivated you to introduce the idea of Naeng-Norng? 

L: We have personally faced this problem at school, writing poems during literature classes, that’s why we came up with this idea. We also realised that this can be a widespread issue, since we have interviewed people from other provinces as well, and found out that they face the same problem.

How has it been like balancing other responsibilities like school with this programme? 

L: We have weekends to work on our startup, we have created schedules as well. During weekdays, we will skip two or three lessons to work on the programme. If work gets too busy, we would ask for lesson exemptions to work on our application before catching up with lessons on weekends. We have had to sacrifice a lot of programmes that we could have taken part in at school, but it has been worth it.

What has been the greatest victory in your journey thus far? 

L: We are proud of the fact that we learned to accept our differences and move on without giving up. At the beginning of the project, we wanted to change our idea a few weeks into the programme, so there were concerns that there was not going to be enough time. For a while, we couldn’t decide among ourselves which idea to choose and it was very stressful, but we were able to move past that as a group, and  that was a success for us. Through this journey, we have gotten a lot closer as well.

What has been the greatest challenge in your journey so far? 

L: We would say that the technical part was a huge challenge for us, because we entered the competition with no coding experience and we had to spend plenty of time and effort to learn and master coding for our application. That part was difficult, but we made it through.

How do you plan to differentiate yourself from the other teams at the world pitch? 

L: We will work on our confidence. Our slides and our presentation are already done, we just have to remember to be more confident and to be proud of ourselves as representatives of Cambodia. We will inspire others by being passionate and sharing about our culture.

What will you keep in mind going forward in your entrepreneurial journey? 

L: We have our own affirmations, but we mainly keep in mind to be honest and to voice out our opinions and disagreements, should we be displeased with someone else. After all the team comes first, if we don’t do our part individually, the other members would be affected.

What are your plans for Naeng-Norng in the coming years even beyond the programme? 

L: We have plans for our application, such as adding features that allows users to upload voice recordings of them singing their poem, and chat groups. We may expand to other countries by sharing Khmer poems in different places, providing translations with the help of local contacts.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs who may be thinking of joining Technovation? 

L: In this programme, you will learn how to be a leader, but being a leader doesn’t mean that you are the best. You must take the time to listen to your team members, to be humble and to admit to your mistakes. So, you have to trust your teammates, be open and honest! Making mistakes is very normal, just know that you can always start again. Take a step back when you encounter difficulties, to think about your position and your plans. Perfection takes time!

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Geeks in Cambodia is incredibly proud of the LiterTree team for their accomplishments, and we wish them the best for the pitch next week! For more information, visit their Facebook page. Stay tuned for more information on the Technovation Cambodia Facebook page, and Technovation Girls website!