After receiving 4,000USD in funding and spending more than 6 months in incubation refining their platform idea to allow easy booking and management of football pitches all over Phnom Penh, GoSoccer finally took home the crown as the champion of Smart Axiata’s inaugural SmartStart: Young Innovator Programme during their Pitching Day held at Impact Hub Phnom Penh on 28 January.
Along with their victorious win, the team also bagged a fully-funded “Tech Trip” to Singapore, where they will get the exciting opportunity to visit the likes of tech behemoths such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft. GoSoccer Business Manager, Lyhour Sovann shared, “We (cannot) describe how excited we are. This is unbelievable! It’s a huge milestone for GoSoccer team.”.
Comprised of five innovative university students, the GoSoccer team went up against the initial pool of over 30 teams before taking on the other final 4 promising teams from the lot in a final pitching. This included Ligo, a mobile Khmer language learning application; Prestige Gift, a gift consultation, wrapping and delivery service; SPARE, a service to simplify booking or renting real estate and working spaces; and Propey, a wedding planning service.
During the final pitching, the teams were all given a chance to convince the present judging panel how much their platforms have grown since its early stages; so as to prove its prowess and potential over the other products showcased that day.
“We were very impressed with GoSoccer. They have clearly spent a lot of time determining the needs of Cambodians, what makes their proposition unique and important, and refining the practicalities of bringing their idea to life,” said one of the judges, Nadia Wong, Founder of TRYBE.
The five teams in the final were also made up of students from Royal University of Phnom Penh, Institute of Technology of Cambodia, Kirirom Institute of Technology, Zaman University, National Institute of Posts, Telecoms & ICT, American University of Phnom Penh, and CamEd Business School. These students all came a long way before battling it out in the final pitching, working on improving their business ideas with the 4,000 funding award they received from Smart Axiata earlier as well.
Hence, Smart Axiata CEO, Thomas Hundt went on to share, “It is fantastic to see how far these teams have progressed; their final pitches today and products presented were much more polished than when they first told us their ideas. Smart is proud to be able to support new digital ideas as well as develop future tech entrepreneurs for Cambodia’s promising digital ecosystem. Congratulations to GoSoccer, I am sure you will have a rewarding time in Singapore.”.
Mélanie Mossard, Impact Hub Phnom Penh Director of Community, concurred with Thomas on the overall performance of all teams: “It was great having these five teams with us during the incubation period, demonstrating the capabilities of Cambodian talent. We are all encouraged to see how much dedication and commitment has been put in by all teams towards launching their digital solutions and ideas.”.
The SmartStart programme is one of the many initiative Smart has took up to engage young Cambodians by boosting participation in the Kingdom’s tech space and pushing for the creation of homegrown tech applications. The programme was launched last year with strong endorsement from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. Besides such Tech Innovation programs, Smart also supports Education, Community Sports, and Environmental initiatives across the country as part of its sustainability agenda too.
With that, we at Geeks In Cambodia want to extend our congratulations to GoSoccer, as well as are excited for what opportunities to come for young innovators in the near future with support from companies like Smart Axiata and the Cambodian government!
For more information on Smart’s sustainability and corporate responsibility initiatives, follow their Facebook page here or visit www.smartstart.com.kh. You can also view more photos and updates on Impact Hub’s Facebook Page here.