After impressing a panel of judges at the grand final on Thursday evening, SomJot, an app that helps drivers find parking space, was selected as the winner of the SmartStart Young Innovator Programme Cycle 2 and was awarded a trip to Singapore.
Smart Axiata CEO Thomas Hundt said, “Congratulations to SomJot, for making substantial progress in the last six months, once again raising the bar for SmartStart in terms of output quality. Their pitch made us all proud of the tremendous efforts put into the programme.
“Such an initiative proves that the Kingdom’s startup ecosystem is growing and being stimulated by great talent – it’s a positive sign for our shared vision of Cambodia’s sustained digital economy,” Mr Hundt said.
The four other teams in the final were Homex, a mobile application that connects users with household needs to reliable technicians, Haystome, a digital platform that connects tourists with local artists, Malis, a digital solution facilitating appointments at beauty salons, and Tos Rean, an online platform matching tutors and students.
All five teams had received $4,000 and a six-month incubator programme with Impact Hub in June 2018, and battled it out yesterday at Impact Hub Phnom Penh for a fully-funded Singapore “tech trip” to visit the likes of Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
Ny Chanpichmean from SomJot said she was very thankful to Smart and Impact Hub for creating such a comprehensive tech programme.
“My team and I have been working very hard to define our business model and develop our minimum viable product. Although we faced many challenges in the last few months, we were grateful to have experienced mentors, Impact Hub and Smart, who guided us along the way. We look forward to build on this success as our digital product and service gain traction in Cambodia.”
Melanie Mossard, Impact Hub Phnom Penh’s director of venture support, praised the commitment of all the teams throughout the whole programme.
“The quality and hard work on display in SmartStart Cycle 2 have been amazing. It has been great to see how these young university students have all responded to the advice and workshops during the incubation period.
“I really admire their commitment and desire to learn and get exposed to new networks and opportunities. We at Impact Hub can’t wait to see all the teams further develop their ideas and use our continuous support to guide them through their entrepreneurial journey,” she said.
SmartStart, a nine-month programme by Smart and Impact Hub endorsed by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and the Ministry of Education, seeks to help Cambodian university students launch their digital business ideas.
Shortlisted students undergo a hackathon, a 5-day technopreneurship challenge as well as intensive workshops to stand a chance to win $4,000 cash and tailored support for six months with Impact Hub.