A mobile game based on the Khmer blockbuster film Jailbreak has won the Cambodia ICT Awards 2017, a competition that rewards the most innovative ICT achievements in the country.
Three winners were selected from 37 applicants, including start-ups, the private sector, NGOs and public service institutions.
They showcased their projects in front of a panel of judges from the private and public sectors, who judged the entries based on creativity, benefits to society, quality, reliability and use of technology.
After the first round of selection, 12 finalists were chosen to present their projects in front of a jury composed of business people, government officials, civil society and ICT industry representatives.
DirexPlay won the gold medal for its Jailbreak the Game, taking home a $10,000 cash prize. The mobile game was designed by local developers in partnership with the makers of the film Jailbreak and operates on both iOS and Android platforms.
Open Institute took away the silver medal with $3,000 in cash for its Bong Pheak employment service. Bong Pheak broadcasts job opportunities both online and through automatic voice calls delivered to potential workers, particularly in the unskilled and low-skilled sectors.
The bronze medal, plus $1,000, was awarded to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport for its Car Registration Automation System. It allows citizens to register their cars through an online application, saving time and money, and gradually reducing unofficial payments.
Stephen Paterson, coordinator of the McKinsey Mekong Business Plan Challenge and member of the judging panel, said the competition will encourage entrepreneurs with creative ideas in the start-up sector.
“We were really impressed by the quality of the applications we received this year,” Mr Paterson said. “There is a real entrepreneurial spirit in Cambodia and we are happy that an event like the ICT Awards exists to encourage young entrepreneurs and put them in the spotlight.”
Cambodia will host the Asean ICT Award in November, allowing the winners to compete with the best-in-class for innovation in the region.
Chhourm Piseth, managing director of the DirexPlay, said the ICT sector in Cambodia is progressing due to increased internet access and foreign investment, but foreign language skills are still hindering local ICT development.
“The competition was tough, but we want people to know what we can do. We want our game to teach people about the Khmer martial art Bokator,” Mr Piseth said.
He added that the competition will encourage others to come up with creative ideas for running businesses and game platforms, not only domestically but in the region and globally.
The Cambodia ICT Awards is in its third year. Last year BookmeBus, SmartPay, and Tosfun won the top prizes.
The awards were created by the National Institute of Post, Telecoms and ICT in 2015. They aim to promote and reward innovative ICT. Each year, winners receive prizes between $1,000 to $10,000 to develop their companies and bring their businesses to the next level.