SmartSpark (Social Welfare) – Applications Open

We are working with startups that is trying to solves Cambodia’s challenges in poverty, food, health and clean water.

SmartSpark Cohort5 is now working with Cambodian youth age from 18-30 who are passionate about solving social issues in Cambodia through entrepreneurship. In this cohort, we focus on SDG1: No Poverty, SDG2: Zero Hunger, SDG3: Good Health and Well-being, SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation.

This January, we found Cambodian teams who have more than just ideas but the commitment and passion to kick start working on their startups. SmartSpark is a chance for them to become an impactful social entrepreneur and a chance for them to win USD3000 from ur program.

Application is now closed

What is SmartSpark?

SmartSpark is a startup program to introduce the key concepts of social entrepreneurship to people with the ambition to turn their innovative idea into a business that will tackle Cambodia’s biggest challenges.

This program brought to Cambodian youth 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. The aim is to help them turn creative ideas into viable businesses and solutions!

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.

During this fifth cohort we are looking for innovations that address challenges in poverty, food, health and clean water:
SDG 1: No Poverty
SDG 2: Zero Hunger
SDG 3: Good Health & Well-being
SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

What will participants get on the program?

During this program, participants can access to:

  • Impact Hub’s Innovation Garage
  • Impact Hub’s Network
  • A dedicated Impact Hub mentor
  • Structured workshops to develop and test your idea
  • The opportunity to pitch their innovative idea

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

They are now going 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 them all as we offer each other motivation, feedback and support.

Looking for inspiration?

  1. Watch the videos of the teams from Cohort 3 on Environment and Cohort 4 on Sustainable Cities, Jobs and Industries.
  2. Or visit all the previous SmartSpark winners’ Facebook pages to learn more: Inclusion+Compost City, Tinky Bike 
  3. Ideate with friends or at home using this template guide for idea generation.
  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:

Application is now closed

FAQs For Future Applicants

1. What Will I Learn?

Week 0: “You’re a changemaker and you (don’t) know it!” – Inspirational session – Reflection on your personal story and why are you 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 on board.

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 SDG 1, SDG 2, SDG4 and/or SDG 6
  • 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.

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.


If you have any questions about SmartSpark please get in touch with or 

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

Spread the love