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13 startups take the SmartScale challenge

SmartScale, an acceleration programme by the Mekong Strategic Partners, officially kicked off last week with 13 local startups striving to scale up their tech ideas.

Speaking at the opening of Smartscale, Bora Kem, investment manager of Mekong Strategic Partners, said that the programme is a great chance for local startup founders to find the answers to business gaps. With an aim of developing business skills and strategies for Cambodian startups, Mekong Strategic Partners, supported by Smart Axiata, USAID’s Development Innovation Fund and Seedstars, will take the 13 startup founders to various business workshops for 12 weeks until July.

“We have 13 startups in the programme, 40 percent is ran or led by women entrepreneurs; that’s a great number. They are from childcare, real-estate, gaming, e-commerce, education, hospitality, and café,” said Mr Bora.

The tech startups in Cambodia is an expanding sphere, especially among the young. According the report released in 2018 by the MSP, there are over 300 active technology startups currently operating at various stages of development. And most of the startup founders are Cambodians, which is a really good news. However, some startups are facing the growing problems that make them fail or unable to reach the success point as a result of lack in business strategy and difficulty in estimating the market demands.

Therefore, more than a competition, SmartScale is a platform for business network building in which young startup founders can go in and find partners, advisors and investors to support their entrepreneurial endeavours. Aside from the business workshops, participants have the chance to meet their mentors from the various business sectors from foreign countries to help them overcome business barriers.

The selected startups will eventually have the opportunity to receive follow-up investments of up to $100,000, as well as exclusive access to thousands of dollars’ worth of tech benefits from other tech organisations.

Thomas Hundt, Chief Executive Officer of Smart Axiata, applauded SmartScale as a way of giving Cambodian youths a tool to improve the digital ecosystem of the Kingdom.

He believes that SmartScale will also force existing businesses to scale up and strive for ultimate success.

SmartScale will give participants “increased investment readiness” and help their startups scale faster and hit their investment milestone fast.


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