Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With a population of over 14.8 million, Cambodia is the 68th most populous country in the world. After years of isolation, the war-ravaged nation was reunited under the monarchy in 1993 and has seen rapid progress in the economic and human resource areas while rebuilding from decades of civil war. Cambodia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with economic growth averaging 6 percent for the last 10 years. This month we bring to you Small World Cambodia – a startup aiming to foster Entrepreneurship in Cambodia.
When we tried to search for Cambodian Tech Startups on Internet, we hardly found them. After extensive research, we landed on Small World Cambodia. We talk to Rithy THUL, co-founder of this Startup on co-working and lot of other lesser known things about Cambodian tech startup scene. Read on!
First things first. Why is it so hard to find Cambodian tech startups on the Internet?
Cambodian people are definitely tech savvy. But, from my personal experience most of the businesses found here are based on “a successful idea” implemented by some one else. There is always certain amount of risk involved in founding a Startup. So, usually people tend to take the easy route. However, I can confidently say that the scenario is slowly changing. Cambodia has one of the countries with highest percentage of youth. It is important to tap into their potential and give them opportunity to grow.
Tell us about the idea behind Small World Cambodia. How does co-working space work?
As explained above, Cambodian youth have lot of potential. But, given the costs and risks associated with Startups, it is difficuilt for young people to try their idea. This is the basic premise for starting Small World Cambodia – a place for Entrepreneurs to come and test their ideas, without worrying about the setup costs and other necessary formalities. The companies would be registered under Small World Cambodia until they decided to take off on their own.
SmallWorld is a collaborative workplace designed to ensure that passionate, business minded youth have access to an enjoyable and productive work environment. It serves as an education, networking, and small business resource and support center where students and budding entrepreneurs can learn and network with others to discuss, test, and launch new business ideas. We have various membership plans that range from basic single day to full private office and meeting rooms. We also want Small World Cambodia to be a central hub for non Cambodian people to meet young entrepreneurs in Action.
Find their short video clip here:
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How has been the response so far?
In one word, its phenomenal! We currently have teams working on their next business ideas, and quite few ideas have been successfully transformed into businesses. SoulJourneysTravel started out of Small World Cambodia and has recently moved out to have its own setup. Arrowdot is another technology startup working out of Small World currently. They are into building robots, among other things. You can connect with us here to know more updates.
We have recently conducted Good for Nothing Challenge, from April 1st to 5th. The Good for Nothing (GFN) Challenge provides opportunities for talented professionals to come together and solve meaningful social problems. Professionals from all around the world meet on location for a week and form teams with local experts (from NGO leaders to social entrepreneurs) to solve a pivotal problem for a local organisation.
What is the initial investment ? Did you get any funding? When do you foresee achieving breakeven?
Our initial investment is $20,000 USD. Because we want to focus on building Cambodian tech community, we have heavily discounted the membership rates. If the startup idea is good, they even got free co-working space from us! We haven’t reached break even yet but hope to do soon. For the funding part, talks are going on with quite few investors. We hope to get good backing to carry on Small World activities.
What are the other activities Small World Cambodia is involved in?
Let’s Do It is an International grassroots movement to clean-up local communities around the world, and Let’s Do It Phnom Penh is part of this movement. Each year SmallWorld Cambodia co-organizes one major city-wide event to clean-up Phnom Penh, organizing and training 5000 volunteers in 2012. During the remainder of the year, small community clean-up events are held.
KhmerTalks is a project of sharing ideas presented in the Khmer language by scholars, thinkers, achievers and students of all ages and generations. The program was initiated in 2009 and has grown within Phnom Penh while spreading out into the provinces.
Anything you would like with our readers?
Do what we love and keep doing it. Stand up on where we fall and keep moving forward.
About the founders
Rithy THUL, Sakada Sam, Chhunny Noem and Putheary Chhouen are the founders of Small World Cambodia. Sakada Sam is the founder of khmerenterprises.com and Rithy runs cycling adventure tours at toursanak. Apart from having their own successful startups, they wanted to build a place for Cambodian students, entrepreneurs, and young people to meet, learn, and work. Find more about their story here.Rithy was also co-organizer for TEDxPhnomPenh.
What do we think of Small World Cambodia?
Silicon Valley was “THE” place for wannabe entrepreneurs. Slowly, the startup culture is crossing boundaries and every country want to boost their economy by nurturing entrepreneurship In a place like Cambodia where startup costs are high, these kind of companies give people to test their idea before calling it off. We hope more of these startup helping tools emerge in Cambodia assisting them to create more startups.
We wish Small World Cambodia team all the very best.