Cambodian Students Hack Their Way to a Better Future: SmartStart ULP National Hackathon 2023 Winning Ideas for Social Change through ICT
3 April 2023 - Socheat Ly

Royal University of Agriculture, Cambodia – Last Friday, 24th March 2023, up to 500 participants gathered at the Royal University of Agriculture to witness the SmartStart ULP National Hackathon 2023 Final Pitch. This was the concluding event of the SmartStart ULP National Hackathon 2023, where university students from 8 universities across Cambodia came together for four days to develop business ideas that solve social issues using ICT solutions.

SmartStart Unipreneur Learning Platform is an educational initiative between Smart Axiata and Impact Hub Phnom Penh. It is the first local online learning and interactive platform that introduces entrepreneurship through a blended learning approach to Cambodian students in Khmer and English. 

Check out more information about SmartStart ULP here!

This was the second time that the SmartStart ULP National Hackathon was organized. It is a 4-day intensive hackathon that trains selected Uniprenuer Learning Platform graduates from partner universities such as the Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology, Royal University of Law and Economics, Royal University of Agriculture, CamTech University, Svay Rieng University, Build Bright University – Siem Reap Campus, Angkor University, and Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia – Battambang Campus, to turn innovations into business ideas and pitch them to the judges. The winner of this hackathon will receive a regional exposure trip abroad to learn about the technology industry.

On the final pitch day, the students presented business ideas that addressed 6 problems on Environmental & Sustainability, Sustainable Agriculture Food Safety and Security, Challenges in Adopting Digital Governance, Challenges in Getting Out of the Poverty Circle, The Fear and Limited Access to Mental Health Care, and Women’s Health & Education. The atmosphere was intense, with the students trying their best to hack the problems, but it was refreshing to see new innovative ideas come to life.

“Smart Axiata recognizes the immense value of education and its role in driving the development of our nation. For this reason, we are proud to be a part of this wonderful program, which presents an opportunity to harness the power of learning and contribute to advancing our society. By investing in education, we believe we can pave the way for a brighter future and empower individuals to reach their full potential.” – Miss Chem Srey Oeun, Head of Corporate Affairs at Smart Axiata.

“SmartStart ULP owes its success to the unwavering support of our believers. By incorporating our platform into the university’s curriculum, the Royal University of Agriculture has set a precedent that has inspired other university partners about the impacts and results from the SmartStart ULP course can have on the students. We are proud to have such a strong network of supporters who share our vision for empowering the youth through education.”-Mr. Chhim Tithamatak, Senior Online Learning Manager of Impact Hub Phnom Penh.

The final pitch was concluded with 3 winning teams. The winner of the regional exposure trip was from the Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology (CADT), PetMate, and their startup called “Wasteless.” Wasteless uses cutting-edge stock management and AI integration to help restaurants manage their inventory efficiently and prevent unnecessary food waste.

The second team that took home second place as the Best Performing Team was from Build Bright University – Siem Reap Campus, with their idea called “Cheang.” Cheang tackles the issues of finding vehicle repairpersons using their app “Cheang,” They won the Best Performing Team award.

The third winning team, “Most Innovative Idea,” was from Svay Rieng University, EC Digitalization, with their innovative idea called “bongvech”. The startup idea provides design and packaging solutions with efficiency and ease to small and local businesses.

This event was a testament to the creativity and innovation of young Cambodian minds in using technology to solve real-world problems. This year, SmartStart ULP National Hackathon Final Pitch returned 5 times bigger than last year’s final pitch of SmartStart ULP National Hackathon in 2022.

Overall, the SmartStart ULP National Hackathon 2023 Final Pitch was a success and showcased young Cambodian students’ brilliant ideas about positively changing society through ICT.

For more information, please contact 

Chhim Tithamatak

[email protected]