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Phnom Penh, 17 January 2022 After more than 6 months of training and refining their ideas, Adero was chosen as the winner of SmartStart Young Innovator Program Cycle 4having impressed a panel of judges at the Grand Final Pitch with their innovative solution.

Adero, a smart-moving advertisement system, won the first prize of USD 6,000 plus a fully-funded regional tech trip. Kela, a platform that allows users to search for sports venues, won the second place of USD 4,000 as well as a regional tech trip. And third place runner up FlexFloc won a regional tech trip for their innovative fish farming system using an IoT solution that sends fish farmers phone updates and alerts.

All three teams will be offered the opportunity to visit the regional headquarters of various tech startups and businesses.

The program was challenging, and the competition was fierce which is why being this year’s SmartStart Young Innovator Program winner is so rewarding,” said PechPongpanhavath from Adero.

“We are looking forward to the tech trip and also to continue working on our startup. The support we receive from our mentors and organizers will help us go a long way,he added.

The SmartStart Young Innovator Program, initiated by Smart Axiata in collaboration with Impact Hub Phnom Penh, is Cambodia’s leading digital talent development program which identifies and then nurtures the Kingdom’s future leaders in digital entrepreneurship.

“All of the teams this year proposed some fantastic ideas and made excellent pitches which made choosing a winner a real challenge,” said CMO of Smart Axiata Mrs. Mila Jivkova Kusheva.

“We are proud to see how far SmartStart has progressed since the first cycle. It is undoubtedly clear that all the participants will go on to make significant contributions to Cambodia’s digital and economic future – as well this year’s winner Adero, who impressed all of the judges with their immensely innovative ideas and passion.”

Smart is delighted to have co-developed this program with Impact Hub Phnom Penh and we look forward to expanding such opportunities to youths across the Kingdom. We are also tremendously thankful for the strong endorsement from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport which helped strengthen the impact of this particular program,” she added.

The two other business ideas that made it through to this year’s SmartStart Young Innovator Program grand final were:

iCompost – a smart waste-recycling machine that transforms daily food waste into nutrient-rich compost to feed indoor and outdoor plants.
Your Space – a platform that provides a peer-to-peer parking network in a mobile application where users can register their empty spots and turn them into parking places, helping to reduce unorganized on-street parking.


After going through a number of knock-out rounds that included a ‘digithon’ challenge that involved solving a real-life challenge using the Internet of Things technology and pitching their ideas for the “Technopreneurship Challenge”, the five finalists were then placed on paid-for internships with some of the country’s best known tech start-ups that included CAFT, Vodworks, V-Tenh, Codingate, BigEight, BookMeBus and Bloo.

The finalists then had to present their ideas at the Grand Final Pitch which took place at CADT on Friday, 14 January 2022.

The winning team was selected by a panel of five judges that included Mrs. Mila Jivkova Kusheva, CMO of Smart Axiata, Mr. Bora Kem, Investor and Entrepreneur, Mekong Strategic Partners, Mr. Stephane Munster, Co-Founder & CEO of SKG Energy 4.0 Technologies, Mrs. Ratana Phurik Callebaut, CFA Lead and Co-Founder and Ms. Zoe Ng, Managing Director of Raintree. The award ceremony was presided over by H.E. SannVathana, Under Secretary of State of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport andH.E. Khov Makara, Secretary of State of Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.

The SmartStart Young Innovator Program is part of Smart’s commitment to the Capacity Building Research and Development Fund, initiated by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

Established in 2017, the SmartStart Young Innovator Program enables Cambodian university students to launch digital startups by offering unique learning experiences through mentorships and financial support. SmartStart has expanded to provide entrepreneurial education to more young Cambodians and has impacted about a thousand students.

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