Smart Axiata Cambodia Launches Young Innovator Programme

From now till 19th March, sign up for your chance to develop your business idea into a viable business through the SmartStart programme.

Organised by Smart Axiata, the SmartStart programme is on the lookout for groundbreaking solutions related to these 4 verticals – Digital Education, Digital Commerce & Payments, Digital Entertainment & Content as well as Other Disruptive Industry Models for example in the areas of Transport, Health, Agriculture and the Internet of Things.

Announced recently at a press conference attended by H.E. Dr Kan Channmeta, Secretary of State at MPTC, along with H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of MoEYS, Smart CEO Thomas Hundt mentioned that the programme will assist young talents to develop themselves, and digital ideas that are beneficial to the society.

“We believe the young generation is the future of Cambodia’s digital economy. Young Cambodians are just as smart, innovative, and talented as other people from other countries,” said Mr Thomas Hundt. “Cambodia needs a well-structured platform to bridge the gap and develop untapped ingenuity. That’s the reason why we have decided to come up with SmartStart.”

If you’re any university student (particularly Year 3 and 4) enrolled in The Royal University of Phonm Penh, the Institute of Technology of Cambodia, the National Institute of Posts, Telecommunications and ICT or the National University of Phnom Penh, and you have an exciting business idea, this could be the programme that will put you on your way to bringing your idea to life.

This brand new innovation programme will take place across three phrases during a 9-month period. In the first phase of the programme, Smart will host workshops at the 4 targeted universities to inspire and catalyse interest in the SmartStart programme. Following these sessions, students will be encouraged to submit their online applications for the programme. Smart will then select the top 120 applicants to move forward to a round called “The Hatch”.

During this round, participants will get to network with each other and form teams to take part in the final round of phase 1 – The Hackathon.

An intensive 2-day prototyping event, teams will work tirelessly to produce a prototype before pitching to a panel of esteemed judges who will select the best teams to go through to the second phase of SmartStart.

Here’s a brief summary of Phase 2 and 3 of the SmartStart programme:

Phase 2

In phase 2, 60 students will go through a 5-day Technopreneurship Challenge held in the Battambang Province. During this period, teams will be trained in the area of Business Development while also being exposed to several tech tools like HTML CSS, JavaScript, Angular JS and Ruby On Rails. Each project will also get a chance to network with mentors and fellow entrepreneurs.

At the end of the challenge, teams will have to pitch their projects to a panel of judges and up to 5 teams will advance to Phase 3 – a 6-month incubator program. Each of the advancing teams will receive $4000USD as well as free access to a co-working space, mentorship and workshops.

Phase 3

Phase 3 will see teams working on their project for 6-months with support provided for by one of the leading incubator hubs in Phnom Penh. At this stage, the teams will also be provided opportunity for additional investment from Smart.

As a bonus, the project identified as the standout group with the fastest growth also wins a tech-focused trip to Singapore where they will get to visit the offices of Facebook, Microsoft and Google.

For us at Geeks in Cambodia, we’re really excited by the potential of this programme as the categorisation of solutions across verticals will mean that great ideas benefitting various segments of society will be uncovered through the same programme. Find out more about the programme and sign up today through this website.

Check out the video below as well to get a gist of the entire programme!