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Phnom Penh, 7th February 2020: SmartStart Young Innovator Program Cycle 3 found the winner for the Singapore Tech Trip yesterday evening at Impact Hub Phnom Penh. At the Grand Final Pitch, a panel of judges selected STYLE, a platform providing its users with various opportunities to rent suits, dresses or traditional clothes for special occasions, recognizing their exceptional work and efforts in the past six months.

The winning team was awarded with a fully-funded tech trip to visit the regional headquarters of various tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and LinkedIn in Singapore.

“We are very excited about the tech trip to Singapore. We cannot wait to see and learn even more from the renown global tech companies,” said So Samphors from STYLE.

“SmartStart Young Innovator Program has been a great opportunity for university students, like me, to learn important principles of realizing a tech business idea. We are very thankful to Smart, Impact Hub and all the partners who created this program and gave us a chance. These past 9 months were an incredible experience and I recommend all university students to apply for the next SmartStart,” she added.

After the Final Pitch in June 2019, the top five teams received 5,000 USD along with a six-month funded incubator program with Impact Hub Phnom Penh to pursue their ideas and grow their tech startups further.

Chan Penhleak,​ Community Manager at Raintree Development, one of the judges said that all the judges had a very difficult time selecting the winner due to the great pitches from all the teams.

“It was very motivating to see their immense passion and efforts demonstrated in their pitches. Each team has worked relentlessly in the past six months to present their progress to us. I strongly encourage them to continue working on their startup ideas and officially launch their business,” said Penhleak.

The four other teams who attended the Grand Final Pitch were:

  1. RENTECH, an app that helps users to rent accommodation, especially targeting students from provinces who come to major cities for their tertiary education.
  2. Sers Chborng, an app offering mentor support for high school and university students, especially those seeking to apply for scholarships and exchange programs as well as take part in competitions.
  3. PhumCAKE, an app allowing anyone to design made-to-order cakes with unique shapes, colors, and flavors, for special events.
  4. SpeakOut, a platform that helps people struggling with depression by providing anonymous communication channels, awareness information and linking them with professionals.

“It is very encouraging to see more young Cambodians being involved in digital entrepreneurship. I am very hopeful that their commitment and desire to build digital businesses will contribute greatly to Cambodia’s future digital economy, which Smart has strived to drive over the years. While I congratulate all the teams for making it to the Grand Final, I also hope that they take all their learnings from SmartStart to excel their future personal and professional careers,” said Feiruz Ikhwan, Chief Financial Officer at Smart Axiata.

As part of Smart’s effort to promote entrepreneurship and tech innovation in Cambodia, the SmartStart Young Innovator Program aims to support Cambodian university students in starting their own tech business through mentorship and financial support. Since 2017, SmartStart has been strongly backed by both the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, including through Smart’s contribution to the Capacity Building and R&D Fund.

Application for the next cycle of SmartStart will open in April 2020.

For more information on SmartStart, follow the “Smart for Cambodia” Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/smartforcambodia or visit www.smartstart.com.kh.

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