Phnom Penh, 28th January 2018: After more than 6 months refining their concept for a platform to allow booking and management of football pitches across Phnom Penh, the five strong students of a team, called GoSoccer was chosen as the winner of Smart Axiata’s inaugural SmartStart: Young Innovator Program.

From an initial pool of over 30 teams, GoSoccer squared up to four other teams at Impact Hub Phnom Penh, each vying to convince the judging panel of the superiority of their product and development as a team.

“We were very impressed with GoSoccer. They have clearly spent a lot of time determining the needs of Cambodians, what makes their proposition unique and important, and refining the practicalities of bringing their idea to life,” said one of the judges, Nadia Wong, Founder of TRYBE.

The five teams in the final were made up of students from Royal University of Phnom Penh, Institute of Technology of Cambodia, Kirirom Institute of Technology, Zaman University, National Institute of Posts, Telecoms & ICT, American University of Phnom Penh, and CamEd Business School.

Other contending app ideas were Ligo, a mobile Khmer language learning application; Prestige Gift, a gift consultation, wrapping and delivery service; SPARE, a service to simplify booking or renting real estate and working spaces; and Propey, a wedding planning service.

All five teams had received 4,000 USD and a six-month incubator program with Impact Hub Phnom Penh in May 2017 from Smart, Cambodia’s leading mobile telecommunications company and were battling it out today for a fully-funded “tech trip” to Singapore to visit the likes of Facebook, Google and Microsoft, explained Smart Axiata CEO Thomas Hundt.

“It is fantastic to see how far these teams have progressed; their final pitches today and products presented were much more polished than when they first told us their ideas. Smart is proud to be able to support new digital ideas as well as develop future tech entrepreneurs for Cambodia’s promising digital ecosystem. Congratulations to GoSoccer, I am sure you will have a rewarding time in Singapore.”

Mélanie Mossard, Impact Hub Phnom Penh Director of Community, concurred with Thomas on the overall performance of all teams: “It was great having these five teams with us during the incubation period, demonstrating the capabilities of Cambodian talent. We are all encouraged to see how much dedication and commitment has been put in by all teams towards launching their digital solutions and ideas.”

The SmartStart program is one of many ways in which Smart is engaging young Cambodians to boost participation in the Kingdom’s tech space and push the creation of homegrown tech applications. It was launched last year with strong endorsement from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. Besides such Tech Innovation programs, Smart also supports Education, Community Sports, and Environmental initiatives across the country as part of its sustainability agenda.

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