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Cambodia & Initiative: Launch of the "Cambodia Tech Catalyst", supported by Google APAC

Last Tuesday, at the launch of Cambodia Tech Catalyst, supported by Google, more than 250 players from the technology and digital ecosystem, including local start-ups, incubators, venture capital firms, founders and investors, gathered at Koh Pich town hall in Phnom Penh.

Thierry Tea, VP of OCIC, surrounded by Ms Esna Ong (Start-up Success Manager) and Ms Kathleen Chiu (Customer Engineer)
Thierry Tea, VP of OCIC, surrounded by Ms Esna Ong (Start-up Success Manager) and Ms Kathleen Chiu (Customer Engineer)

Representatives from Google Cloud took this opportunity to present the various support programmes for start-ups, from Bootcamp to funding. Dialogue sessions with founders and investors provided an opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the Cambodian start-up ecosystem. Finally, this first evening showed that the private sector was quite prepared to contribute to supporting innovation and local R&D (research and development).

The US Embassy, the International Business Chamber of Cambodia (IBC), a delegation of Harvard alumni, members of the foreign press, entrepreneurs and students from local universities took part in the initiative.

Startup founders presenting their career paths
Startup founders presenting their career paths

Entitled "Kingdom of Possibilities", the cocktail party co-organised by the OCIC Group and supported by ISI Group, Canadia Bank, Heineken, Anant Law Firm, and Bill24 welcomed panellists who shared their ideas on optimising investment and business in Cambodia.

Key players such as Mr. Sam Kosal (Baksey Media), Mr. Bora Kem (Mekong Strategic Capital), Ms. Molika Meas (iCare Benefits), Ms. Melanie Mossard (Impact Hub), and new industry players such as Mr. Tharum Bun (Kiripost), Ms. Lida Loem (SHE Investments), and others participated in these sessions. Lida Loem (SHE Investments), Ms Kounila Keo (Mekhala Radiant Communications), Ms Sophie Taing (EMIA), and Ms Lisa Chao (Khmer Enterprise) had the opportunity to present their respective paths to success.

Enthusiastic speakers from Google Cloud Singapore, Ms Esna Ong (Start-up Success Manager) and Ms Kathleen Chiu (Customer Engineer), introduced the audience to the central role of generative AI in driving digital and technological transformations, while highlighting the essential contributions of Google services in today's technology landscape and what they can do for Cambodia.

Thierry Tea, OCIC VP during his thanks speech
Thierry Tea, OCIC VP during his thanks speech

"We are pleased to see the interest of many Cambodian entrepreneurs in learning about the new technologies of the future and how modern solutions such as Generative A.I. can help transform the country's overall digital and technological landscape," said Thierry Tea, OCIC Group VP and CEO of Negocia Capital.

Students from Camtech University and young entrepreneurs had the chance to meet opinion leaders such as Chy Sila from Sabay, Max Thornton from Rising Giants and Remi Pell from the Cambodian Fintech and Technology Association.

Regarding the role of Cambodian companies, Thierry Tea emphasised: "We believe that the private sector can play an increasingly important key role in supporting innovation, which is why groups like OCIC are contributing by taking steps to invest more in developing the necessary infrastructure, such as the Connexion Community Hub in Koh Pich, to support innovation research".

Successful launch evening
Successful launch evening

In addition, Ms Esna Ong presented a special overview highlighting the optimistic outlook for the region and Cambodia in the Google e-conomy Southeast Asia report, which clearly reveals a resurgence in regional consumer confidence and suggests that the ASEAN region is well placed to capitalise on opportunities for continued growth.

"Cloud technology is essential for startups like ours in Cambodia, as it offers an easier way to enter the market without requiring significant investment. We are happy to see Google Cloud coming to Cambodia to support local startups," said Pisoth Yi, a student at CamTech University and founder of Polymer Invoice, a local startup that provides Cambodian SMEs with user-friendly invoice management solutions.

"We're excited to explore how we can use Google Cloud tools like Vertex AI to help micro and small businesses in Cambodia through services like Polymer," said Akthichetha Yim, co-founder of Polymer Invoice.

The Cambodia Tech Catalyst initiative continues this week with CTO Connects at Connexion, Camtech in Chroy Changvar and the Canadian International School in Koh Pich.

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