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Smart, Impact Hub launch entrepreneur program

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Impact Hub Phnom Penh founders Kuy Sophea ( left) and Laura Smitheman sit at their co-working space in 2015. The company has teamed up with telecom giant Smart Axiata to launch a new entrepreneur program. Pha Lina

Smart, Impact Hub launch entrepreneur program

Telecommunications giant Smart Axiata and Impact Hub Phnom Penh announced the launch of a new entrepreneur program that aims to tackle several key sustainable development goals (SDGs), according to a press release this week.

Spanning three years and including a total of nine cohorts, SmartSpark will incubate 54 local ventures.

Each cohort will focus on a different set of SDGs and will provide support, expertise, mentoring and networking in order to provide teams with the best potential for success.

Smart and Impact Hub will select six teams with the most innovative ideas that have what it takes to bring real change to the Kingdom.

The first cohort launches this week, and applications will be accepted through September 10, according to the release.

Abi Perriman, program and impact manager at Impact Hub, a capital innovation space and business incubator, said in the press release that the program is looking for young Cambodians with the drive and ambition to tackle SDGs.

“This is a really exciting program as it gives us a chance to focus on specific social and environmental challenges facing Cambodia today,” he said.

Each group will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges in front of an audience. One winning team will be selected by the judges and receive $3,000 to continue to grow its startup.

Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Axiata, said that forming a strong partnership with Impact Hub would lead to positive outcomes for societal change.

“Beyond our core business, Smart has repeatedly shown its commitment to various sustainability initiatives and to contribute back to society by providing young and bright social entrepreneurs with the right support and mentoring from experts,” he said.

He said more relevant business ideas will emerge that will ultimately impact the development of Cambodia in line with long-term development goals.