Cambodia Calls On Promising Business Start-Ups For Incubation Program

Cambodia PM
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony of the Project for Flood Protection, donated by Japan, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 4, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Samrang Pring)

Business groups in Cambodia are uniting to provide training for promising start-ups in the country in a bid to help new entrepreneurs prepare themselves for the market. The incubation program will run for three months.

According to the Phnom Penh Post, the incubation program for Cambodian startups will kick off in May under the collaboration of Seedstars World, USAID's Development Innovation, Smart Axiata, and Mekong Strategic Partners (MSP).

Around 15 new players based in Cambodia will be handpicked by partnering trainers. The chosen startups will then undergo on-site training that will be based largely on Seedstars' training structure. The program seeks to help new businesses develop products that will cater to the Cambodian market's needs.

"Mentorship and technical support are crucial for a start-up's long-term success. With SmartScale, we will provide start-ups with experienced local mentors while partnering with Seedstars to deliver a world-class incubation programme," MSP partner, Bora Kem, said.

To further assist start-ups in their entrepreneurial journey, the program will allow for trainees to take part in weekly meetings spearheaded by business experts in the corporate sector. Work spaces will be available for free and participation in some company activities will be encouraged.

If participating new business players show enough potential during the incubation program, they may get a chance to receive investments from the Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund. Financial assistance can reach up to $100,000 for extra-promising startups.

Meanwhile, the Cambodian government has also started showing support for emerging businesses as part of its plan to promote digitalization in local industries. According to Khmer Times, the Techo Startup Centre was launched on Monday to support government plans that target digital economy transitions.

The government-funded center will also assist young business people who want to become part of Cambodia's transition to a digital economy. Training will be provided for aspiring tech entrepreneurs so they will be ready to engage in digital corporate settings.

Furthermore, the government said the center is accessible for researchers and young tech students who are in need of internship certifications or those who need expert mentorship. Finally, the facility is expected to forge partnerships with universities offering business tech courses.

Meanwhile, analysts have called on the Cambodian government to spearhead digital transformation in trade and local business. Economic experts stressed the importance of promoting change so Cambodia can keep up with the changes in global markets.

Director of the Center for Governance Innovation and Democracy at the Asian Vision Institute, Dr. Kimlong Chheng, recommended that Cambodia's governing bodies should promote open-access data and harness advanced science and technology education among learners. He said encouraging these reforms will help Cambodia become a leader in the business world in two or three decades.

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