Ever asked yourself any of these questions?

What tech solutions do you want to see to help improve convenience and safety for Cambodian citizens?

How can we ensure Phnom Penh can meet the demands of a rapidly growing population?

How do we build the skills needed for the jobs of the future?

How do we improve the efficiency and automation of Cambodian businesses and infrastructure?

How could we build sustainable & smart cities for tomorrow?

Want to test out a business idea that could help answer them and many more?


SmartSpark is a 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.

This program is brought to Cambodian youths by Smart Axiata and Impact Hub Phnom Penh. It is an intensive 10-week incubation to support young people with innovative ideas tackling social and environmental issues in Cambodia, especially issues around the Sustainable Development Goals. The aim is to help them turn creative ideas into viable businesses and innovative solutions!

Who is it for?

  • Aspiring entrepreneurs at the “idea stage,” who are motivated and equipped to test the feasibility of their idea that contribute to smart or sustainable city
  • You are Cambodian aged between 18 to 30 years old
  • You can apply as an individual or as a team (up to 4 members)
  • You can commit to working on your business idea at least part-time (evenings and some weekends are required)
  • You speak both Khmer and English

What are the SDGs?

Each of the SmartSpark cohorts will focus on a different set of Sustainable Development Goals  (SDGs). The SDGs were developed by the United Nations (UN). They bring focus and unity to the many different people and organisations acting globally to bring about positive change, like Sustainable Cities and Communities or Gender Equality. Cambodia is one of 193 countries that has adopted the SDGs.

From this seventh cohort, we are looking for innovations that address challenges in Smart & Sustainable Cities ( in term of 

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption & Production

What will they get from the program?

  • During this program, they will have access to:
    • Impact Hub’s space ( to run your meeting/event)
    • Impact Hub’s Network
    • A dedicated Impact Hub mentor
    • Structured workshops to develop and test your idea
    • The opportunity to pitch your innovative idea

    At the end of the program, they will have the opportunity to pitch their idea to a panel of judges and audiences. One team will be selected to receive $3,000 from Smart Axiata to launch their business idea, as well as receiving ongoing support from Impact Hub Phnom Penh.

    they will go through this intensive program alongside fellow changemakers also passionate about strengthening Cambodia’s cities, jobs, and infrastructure for a more resilient future. We believe that having multiple people working on similar challenges will help strengthen you all as you offer each other motivation, feedback, and support.

SmartSpark7 - Smart & Sustainable Cities

Looking for Inspiration?

  1. Watch the videos of the teams from Cohort 3 on Environment , Cohort 4 on Sustainable Cities, Jobs and Industries and Cohort 5 on Social Welfare (Live Show), and Cohort 6 on Environment (Live Show Part 1 & Part 2)
  2. Or visit all the previous SmartSpark winners’ Facebook pages to learn more: Inclusion+Compost City, Tinky Bike, Eco-Bricks, Green Terrace 
  3. Ideate with friends or at home using this course (How to Build A Startup) as your resource assistance.
  4. Do more research into the national and international businesses tackling these SDGs.
  5. Explore these Cambodian based and International ventures making an impact in SDGs on www.csdgs.org 
  6. Cambodia Startups and businesses that are working on this topic: Tinky Bike, Compost City, Eco-Bricks, Green Terrace, My Dream Home, Grood, Voltra, Soben, Passapp, Nham24, BookMeBus, SmartBin, Luma System, Peth Yoeung, Agile, etc.  

What is a Prototype?

A basic model or example of your product or service created for the purpose of learning about your customers’ preferences. They are built to test an assumption* or idea quickly and cheaply so that you can seek improvements or make possible changes to direction in innovation early on.

A prototype can be anything that takes a physical form – a sketch on paper, a video of how your idea works, a model of your product, a role play of your service, a landing page of your website etc. Prototyping gets ideas out of your head and into the world. They help you learn because they allow your customers to interact with your idea, which can help eliminate guesswork and subjectivity from just conversations alone.

However, they are not a completed or ready product/service because they are not your final design. Instead, they are a way to find out what doesn’t work early on–so as to allow you to spend your time and money on solutions that do work.

*An assumption is something that you think to be the case, even without proof.


1. What will they learn?

Week 0: “You’re a changemaker and you (don’t) know it!” – Inspirational session – Reflection on your personal story and why you are passionate about solving this problem. – What is a social enterprise &  how can I use this type of business to positively impact my society?

Week 1: “Building a strong team and identifying the root causes of the problem”.  Understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses to build a high performing team.  Reflection on the problem tree to identify the root causes of the problem and generate ideas of solutions.

Week 2: “Market Research and Customer Persona” – How to do primary & secondary market research for customer discovery & market analysis

Week 3: “Creating Innovative Solution and Rapid Prototyping” – Understanding the concept of design thinking. Tips to get creative and think out of the box.  Rapid prototyping and construction of a Minimum Viable Product.

Week 4: “Business Model Canvas” – Building a strong Value Proposition &  identifying the right Business Model for your solutions. Introduction to the Business Model Canvas tools.

Week 5: “Strategy, Project Management & Financial Planning” – Prepare your strategic roadmap, Learn and utilize various project management tools, make your first financial Projection.

Week 6: “Partnership. Marketing and Pitching” – Build Connections and Strong Networks to Support Your Startup, Learn about the basics of Marketing and how to establish a Marketing Strategy.  Present your idea through an Effective and Engaging Pitch to get stakeholders onboard.

Bonus: learn how to make a 1.30min video to present your business idea.

2.Who can apply?

Aspiring entrepreneurs at the idea stage, ready and motivated to test the feasibility of their idea to solve a social or environmental issue.

  • You are Cambodian and aged 18 to 30 years old
  • You can apply as an individual or as a team (up to 4 members)
  • You want to test the feasibility of your business idea
  • You can commit to working on your idea at least part-time (evenings and some weekends are required)
  • You speak both Khmer and English

3. What are the judging criteria?

  • Your idea must solve a problem related to SDG9, SDG 11 and/or SDG 12
  • Your idea must be innovative
  • You must clearly show motivation and drive to turn your idea into a viable business model
  • No experience in business or startup required

4. What are the dates of the training and how much time will I need to dedicate to this program?

This program offers a full curriculum, so you need to be available for all of the training workshops and events. You are also making a commitment to your team and your cohort to show up and contribute at every session.

The dates are:
Saturday 20th Match 2021 (2 pm – 4 pm)
Saturday 27th Match 2021 (2 pm – 4 pm)
Wednesday 31st Match 2021 (6 pm – 8 pm)
Saturday 3rd April 2021 (2 pm – 4 pm)
Saturday 10th April 2021 (2 pm – 4 pm)
Saturday 17th April 2021 (2 pm – 4 pm)
Saturday 24th April 2021 (2 pm – 4 pm)
Wednesday 28th April 2021 (6 pm – 8 pm)
Saturday 12th June 2021 (6 pm-9 pm) (Final Pitch)
Monday 21st June 2021 (6 pm-8 pm)

**All right served by organizer**

As well as the face to face workshops and events, to get the most out of the program you will be spending at least 12 hours per week on your startup idea.

5. How to apply?

Apply before midnight on Sunday 7th Match using the application form here. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on Wednesday 18th September, and successful teams will be invited to join the program on Friday 20th September.

If you have any questions about the application process or SmartSpark please get in touch with [email protected] or [email protected]

Stay up to date with Impact Hub Phnom Penh’s Facebook page here or Smart for Cambodia’s Facebook here.

Our Previous Winners

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