An Internet expert opined this:
“Cambodia’s tech startup sectors and funding are booming. But here’s the thing, if every fresh kid and their buddies only aspire to deliver cool big-screen “sexy” keynotes in their jeans and t-shirts, who are left going to do the good-old boring stuff like err… getting things done or honest-to-goodness wet work?”
I received these questions from a Cambodian university student who’s working on her master’s program. Her work focuses on the emerging entrepreuneurs in Cambodia. The questions center around the business technology startups in Phnom Penh. The answers are my observation and perspectives.
You may also want to read: Phnom Penh’s startups: ‘the art of battling giants’
Question: What is tech startup? When has it happened in Cambodia?
A tech startup is a process or a journey of transforming a idea into a business that generate profit by an individual or a group of people. An amazing idea is still cheap without the execution. That’s what a startup is all about. Just like any businesses, this startup concept has been here in Cambodia for a very long time. But in our modern time Cambodia, in this digital age in particular, we’ve witnessed more and more startups here and there especially in Phnom Penh.
Question: What is your view of technology business in Cambodia? Is it a big field and going on well?
It’s almost impossible to do business without relying on or integrating technology. Both business and technology are way better when utilizing one another. They’re seamlessly together. The future of technology business is here.
Have government or other key players provided financial and non-financial support for this technology business?
The ministries play a very vital role to encourage and support this technology business sector to grow. The Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry of Tecom are at the forefront to nuture the young generation of entrepreneurs to do well.
What are the opportunities for this kind of business in Cambodia? And what are the challenges they face in this context?
Cambodia has a growing population of young people who are fluent in English and can develop technology skill very well. The ability to take on an idea and develop it into something amazing is a huge opportunity. In content production business, some Cambodian groups can launch digital platforms in the local language, build the audience, and have the opportunity to scale them to the region with external funding from some investors. It’s like mining gold. However, this is not without challenges. The local ecosystem to support these early stage businesses, who are a shoestring budget through bootstrapping, is not yet fully in place. From mentorship to seed funding to regulations, Cambodia is still in its early phase.
Do you know any tech entrepreneurs in Cambodia? Their typical profile?
Most of the tech entrepreneurs I’ve met are young men in their mid 20s. They’re fluent in English-language communications, very tech savvy, and socialable.
What are your views on the female entrepreneur in Cambodia?
In tech business, the playing field is open to everyone with creativity and the ability to take or minimize risks.
Do you know any female entrepreneurs in technology startups? May you name some?
Malypoeur Plong who founded Stops Near Me, a mobile application for Phnom Penh residents to take advantage of riding the city bus. Leakhena Long of Joonaak Delivery is another entrepreneur to watch out.
What do you think the barriers women face? Especially in technology? Do you think men and women face the same challenges?
Are there any supporting organizations or investors in technology startups?
Is it hard to attract investor or get loan? And do those financial institutions discriminate between men and women entrepreneurs?
What do you wish to see from the Government as well as other stakeholders?