1 What is the objective of this program?

  • SmartStart is a Young Innovator Program aimed at enabling and empowering young Cambodian talents to develop their tech and digital innovative ideas with Smart; its ultimate goal is to help turn the best concepts into actual tech enterprises.


2 What are the benefits of attending this program?

SmartStart offers a unique learning platform, mentorship and financial support. Through this program, you will get:

  • Connected: You will be exposed to various elements of Cambodia’s digital startup ecosystem, such as experienced mentors, inspirational speakers, co-working spaces, investors and other technical support.
  • Skills: The program consists of business modules taught by experts in the field who have trained and mentored successful startups in Cambodia. The Technoprenuer Challenge will bring successful teams to Battambang province, a prominent source for tech and creative business ideas in Cambodia.
  • Funding: Up to five winning teams will receive 4,000 USD while undergoing a 6-month funded incubator program in partnership with a global hub, where they will access not only free space but also an array of resources, mentorship, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities. The team with the best progress during the Grow Phase will also be rewarded with a sponsored Tech Trip to visit the likes of Google, Facebook and Microsoft in Singapore. Smart is also ready to further invest in your idea after the full SmartStart cycle is completed!


3 Do I have to bear any cost to participate in this program?

  • Smart will cover program related expenses including meals, refreshments, program materials etc. Additionally, transportation and accommodation will be provided for the Technopreneurship Challenge during the Enable Phase.


4 What is the selection process like?

  • Inspire Phase :
    • 120 students will be selected from the pool of applications to participate in half-day events called Hatch, centered around their vertical of interest to pitch ideas and form their respective teams based on interest and skills.
    • Teams are invited to a 2-day Hackathon event, including prototyping and demo, which will shortlist 10 to 15 ideas through a pitching event to proceed to the next Phase for further development.
  • Enable Phase :
    • A 5-day Technopreneurship Challenge in Battambang, shaped around the fundamentals of ideating and growing a digital startup: recognizing, evaluating, and exploiting opportunities; understanding the importance of rapid prototyping; market validation; and experiencing all aspects of business creation. This includes high-level digital training and exposure to the basics of back-end and front-end software tools.
    • Involvement of guest speakers both local and international, networking with mentors and fellow entrepreneurs with the focus of ‘learning by doing’.
    • Concludes with a public pitching event in Phnom Penh after the 5-day challenge to select up to 5 most outstanding or promising digital ideas. The respective teams will proceed to the following 6-month incubation program.
  • Grow Phase :
    • A 6-month funded incubation process and tailored support scheme in partnership with a global hub (yet to be disclosed), to turn ideas with the highest potential into actual businesses or products through an ecosystem of resources, mentorship, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities with business and tech consultants.
    • Besides having regular check-ins to monitor progress and troubleshoot challenges, the teams will take part in demo days and meet with experts and mentors from various companies to get insights and understand the relevance of their startup.
    • Teams will enjoy full membership at Impact Hub Phnom Penh which includes fulltime use of facilities as well as free access to regular events, workshops and business clinics


5 What are the requirements of participation if I am selected?

  • If you are selected and continue to be shortlisted, you will be required to fully participate in all events of this program, carried out in 3 Phases, which include the Hatch, Hackathon, Technoprenuer Challenge, and respective pitching events, as outlined above. If your team advances to the Grow phase, you will be required to work on your business idea on a part-time basis at Impact Hub Phnom Penh.



When is the application deadline?

  • 04th April 2018


Who can apply?

  • This program is open to all university students with:
    • Keen interest and curiosity in innovation, entrepreneurship, startups and digital technologies.
    • Any digital business idea in the following verticals: Digital Education, Digital Commerce and Payment, Digital Entertainment and Content and Other Disruptive Industry Models such as in Healthcare, Agriculture and Transportation.
    • Digital or entrepreneurship skills that may contribute towards the development of ones ideas for example coding, graphic / web design, marketing, writing, sales etc.
    • Good English proficiency.
    • Strong drive and determination to make his or her dreams come through.
    • Commitment to fully participate in all sessions of the program.
    • Year 3 and 4 students are strongly encouraged to apply. However, all students from the four universities mentioned above will be given equal consideration during the shortlisting process.


How do I apply for this program?

  • We only accept submissions through online application. Click here to get started with your application.


Are supporting materials required for the application?

  • Applicants are required to submit a video introduction about yourself (please refer to the application form for details regarding the video content). You may upload your video to YouTube and provide the link accordingly in the application form.


When and how will I be notified of my admission status?

  • You will be informed of your application status by the organizers via email, on or before 9th April, 2018. Successful applicants will be asked to confirm participation upon receiving the notification; failure to do so would imply that the applicant has rejected the opportunity to join this program, and the position will be offered to other deserving applicants.


What are the important dates or milestones that I need to take note of?

  • Application Start Date
6th March 2018
  • Application Deadline
04th April 2018
  • Announcement of Successful Applicants
9th April 2018
  • Hatch
21st April 2018
  • Hackathon
28th – 29th April 2018
  • Camp
12th – 16th May 2018
  • Final Pitch
  • Growth Phase
End May onwards


  • The organizers reserve the right to amend any of the dates above under unforeseen circumstances.