Axiata Group Internships awarded to future digital leaders in SmartEdu USDP program
Three teams that developed digital business solutions were awarded a cash prize at the grand final of the intensive 13-day SmartEdu University Student Development Program (SmartEdu USDP) Bootcamp last week.
Inaugurated in 2018, SmartEdu USDP is a flagship business education program run by the country’s leading mobile operator, Smart Axiata, that provides theoretical, experiential, personal and relational development opportunities for Cambodian university students through a learn-by-doing approach.
This year, 48 students were selected to participate in the Bootcamp, which began on November 5 and ran until November 17.
Participants of the program learn essential business skills and tools in structured workshops, simulations and group work, and they are trained by experts from Smart Axiata, Axiata Group and leaders from various companies in Cambodia. Participants also learned skills that are useful for the digital future such as 3C’s (Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking).
The highlight of the program is the CEO Challenge, in which participants are given 48 hours to solve a real business challenge and present an innovative solution to a panel of distinguished judges. The panel this year comprised Smart Axiata’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Feiruz Ikhwan, Chief Executive Officer of Maybank Cambodia Rath Sophoan and Chief Financial Officer of Prudential Cambodia Freddie Wong.
Over 100 people attended the grand finale, including ministerial officials, judges, mentors and program participants. The event was presided over by Minister of Education, Youth and Sport H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron and Secretary of State of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications H.E. Khov Makara, with Acting CEO of Smart Axiata Feiruz Ikhwan also in attendance.
The Challenge saw eight teams comprised of 48 students from universities across Cambodia pitch their business solutions. The CEO Challenge was won by the Pleng (1) team, which presented a business solution for the music-streaming platform Pleng. The team took home a 1,800 USD cash prize. The top eight individual performers, meanwhile, were awarded a fully paid two-month internship at Axiata Group in Malaysia. There were also cash prizes for teams’ efforts during the Bootcamp: Nagas won the Best Performing Team award and received a 1,400 USD prize, while Googler won the Second-Best Performing Team award, receiving 1,000 USD.
Minister of Education, Youth and Sport H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron said: “SmartEdu USDP provides an opportunity to link universities to the private sector, which also helps to create jobs and provide solutions.”
“I would like to thank Smart Axiata and their partners for organizing this opportunity for young people to be bold, to be smart, and to explore,” he added.
Acting CEO of Smart Axiata Feiruz Ikhwan said: “Nurturing people is at the core of our agenda. At Smart, we aim to develop world-class talent not only in our company but across Cambodia. We are living in a digital age and moving towards a digital economy, so it is important to equip the next generation with digital leadership skills. Over four years, SmartEdu USDP has developed 192 digital leaders, and we are looking forward to creating more leaders in the future for Cambodia.”
SmartEdu USDP is funded by the Capacity Building Research and Development Fund of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, which Smart Axiata contributes to annually. The program is developed in collaboration with various private entities, including the well-reputed Maybank and leading life and health insurance company Prudential. These companies provided much-needed business cases and case studies, allowing the students to assess and explore different business contexts and challenges.