What is SmartSpark?

SmartSpark is a 10-week startup program to introduce the key concepts of social entrepreneurship to people with the ambition of turning their innovative idea into a business that will tackle Cambodia’s biggest challenges. Each of the SmartSpark cohorts will focus on a different set of Sustainable Development Goals  (SDGs). The aim is to help them turn creative ideas into viable businesses and innovative solutions!

What is the focus of this cohort?

The first cohort was held under the theme, “Social Welfare.” It was for young Cambodians with the drive and ambition to tackle SDG 1: No Poverty, SDG 2: Zero Hunger, SDG 3: Good Health & Well-being, or SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation.

What were the SDGs?

How did it start?

The cohort was launched in mid-August 2018, with applications opened from 18th August till 10th September.

There was a mini-hackathon where interested applicants came to ideate, create teams, and discuss solutions with industry experts.

During the application open period, we had invited speakers to share their insight regarding their work and its impact on Cambodia social welfare through a video series. Watch the videos here:

Finally, we have found 7 teams of aspiring entrepreneurs completed the SmartSpark program and took on SDG 1: No Poverty, SDG 2: Zero Hunger, SDG3: Good Health and Wellbeing, and SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation.

SmartSpark Cohort 1's Teams

Khmer Cereal

Highly nutritious and locally produced flakes for breakfast and snacks for busy people who want to stay healthy.


Teleconsultation solution with doctors, leveraging on smartphone technology to provide accessible, affordable, and reliable medical advice anywhere and anytime.

Nuutra Cambodia

Online platform delivering healthy nutritious food and providing curated nutritious online tips to promote a healthy lifestyle.


Online and trustworthy donation platform supporting social projects in Cambodia.


Resource platform for Cambodians suffering from mental health and psychological problems by matching services with health experts, curated blog content and events.


Developed an idea to address water management in Cambodia by creating a product using natural and local coconut fiber that SMEs can use to filter their sewage and meet regulatory requirements at a much more affordable price than the current alternatives.


7 teams

24 participants

59% Female

35% from PP

65% from outside PP

26% graduates

64% students

NPS Score: 65.2

Total video views 60k+


Buntongyi Nit, member of MeetDoctor, ”It is an incredible experience to join SmartSpark. The training shaped me to become a real entrepreneur, allowing me to understand better the risk and the future of healthcare in Cambodia. Moreover, I was inspired to be more innovative and unique in my idea and approach to create a better solution.”  


“Today’s pitch exemplifies the objective of the SmartSpark program that was created to enable passionate Cambodians to pitch their ideas and effect positive change in society. All the judges, including me, were inspired to see different innovative business solutions that target social issues according to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. At Smart, we believe in empowering ideas that will create economic and societal impact in the Kingdom. Hence, I look forward to more great ideas from the remaining cohorts over the next 2 years,” said Feiruz Ikhwan, Chief Financial Officer of Smart Axiata.


“SUDrain aims to be a part of the solution protecting societal health and the environment. Our product offers SMEs an economical and eco-friendly way to tackle water contamination. We’ll use the prize money from SmartSpark to invest in the machinery we need to process the water filter. Our goal is to begin in Cambodia before reaching out to the Asian market,” said Thary Vorn, SUDrain.

What’s next for the teams?

All participants have the option to join Hub Entrepreneurs Club, an ongoing support program that offers network & connections, mentoring, masterclasses and space to entrepreneurs. After the program, 70% of participants committed to actively continue working on their start up and decided to stay with us!

Thank You


  • Feiruz Ikhwan, Chief Financial Officer, Smart
  • Nimol Soth, Team Leader, UN Resident Coordinator Office
  • Solinn Lim, Country Director, Oxfam Cambodia (replaced by Natacha Kim, Responsible Business Coordinator)
  • Karen Moik, Investment Analyst, Insitor


  • Solinn Lim, Country Director, Oxfam
  • Jean-Philippe Lagoeyte, Field Coordinator, Action Against Hunger
  • Phaneth Sok, Psychologist, TPO Cambodia 
  • Virak Chan, Water & Sanitation Specialist, World Bank


  • Yourng Pakk, Country Director, Agribuddy
  • James Happell, Global Innovations Director, mHealth by People In Need
  • Vantharith Oum, Operations Manager, WaterSHED
  • Nikolai Schwarz, Head of Social Business, Friends International, 
  • Dara Huot, Founder, Phare Circus
  • Solinn Lim, Country Director, Oxfam

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