Cambodia Tech Catalyst turns spotlight on women-led start-ups

Cambodia Tech Catalyst turns spotlight on women-led start-ups

Women entrepreneurs in technology and investment were the focus at the launch event of Cambodia Tech Catalyst supported by Google in Phnom Penh recently. Under the theme of ‘Kingdom of Possibilities’ the event featured local start-ups, incubators, venture capital firms, founders and investors in panel discussions that delved into the challenges facing start-up businesses in Cambodia.

Two-panel discussions featuring a mix of women entrepreneurs and start-up founders followed. The topics revolved around ‘how to scale up in Cambodia’ and ‘how to successfully invest in Cambodia’. The objective of the discussions was to unlock the potential in digital, entrepreneurship and tech transformation.

Kounila Keo of Mekhala Radiant Communications moderated the first discussion which included entrepreneurs like Molika Meas (iCare Benefits), Lida Loem (SHE Investments) and Lisa Chao (Khmer Enterprise). The second discussion featured Melanie Mossard of Impact Hub as moderator along with start-up entrepreneurs and founders.

OCIC Group, Koh Pich, Impact Hub Phnom Penh, and Khmer Enterprise were the organisers of the event which saw a turnout exceeding 200 registrations. The event emphasised the relevance of greater participation, collaboration and inclusivity in the ever-growing and evolving technology and digital ecosystem in the Kingdom. A platform was presented to participants to share their journey of overcoming the odds and challenges and emerging triumphant against adversity. They were given the opportunity to narrate their stories of their business inception and growth with the audience as well as seek their feedback.

“We are very delighted to have received more than 230 registrations for this event,” said Tea Thierry, Vice President, Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation to Khmer Times. It has been a great pleasure to welcome friends from Google Singapore.

“Being part of the event was amazing, as I got to meet many tech leaders and entrepreneurs from Cambodia, share ideas, and meet the Google team,” said Kounila. It was a valuable experience to learn from Cambodian startup founders and reconnect with the business community, as well, she added.

The supporting cast of the startups is vital to minimize growth obstacles when building for success, was the opinion of Jovany Antonio, Executive Director at UAS. “Having this type of support from what was presented today helps introduce ways to not just enrich the entrepreneurs’ views, but also assist the team members involved to make the start-up’s vision a reality. This type of ecosystem helps unite growing companies to truly create a foundation for which to thrive on.”

Tea said that people are very interested in learning about the future of how AI is going to transform the landscape of entrepreneurship in Cambodia. He hoped that Cambodia could grow its economy thanks to the technology.

Regarding the challenges facing startups in Cambodia, Tea said that currently there are a lot of initiatives from the government and NGOs. However, till now there has not been much initiative from the private sector. “By that I mean big Cambodian companies and we believe that this is one of the missing points where groups like the OCIC can contribute. This is why we are putting some investment in infrastructure innovation centres,” he added.

It may be safe to say that with AI on the horizon, even the sky is no limit for start-ups in Cambodia. What the future holds in store, may well be anybody’s guess at this point. khmertimeskh

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