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To address the need to support the creation of startups and scale up SMEs through innovation and systemized approaches, the National Productivity Centre of Cambodia (NPCC) organized a Technical Expert Service (TES) project on System-based Incubation Programs, 13–17 November. The face-to-face in-country TES project in Phnom Penh was attended by 35 participants, including officials from the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, Cambodian startup centers, SMEs, and experts from local startups. The sessions were facilitated by two resource persons from Mongolia who shared insights and experience in successful incubation through innovation, systemized approaches, and applications of systems engineering principles.
Cambodia’s startup landscape has experienced rapid growth in recent years due to the government’s increasing focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. The young, dynamic population, coupled with a rising interest in technology, has fostered a thriving startup ecosystem. As of 2022, the Startup Cambodia Ecosystem comprised 98 startups, supported by a network of mentors, investors, academic institutions, government bodies, and co-working spaces. Nevertheless, these startups encounter challenges, notably the lack of mentors tailored to their specific business needs. There is a pressing need for enhanced incubation programs to propel these startups toward sustained success.
The project focused on identifying goals, obstacles, and deficiencies in Cambodia’s innovation system; social systems engineering approaches and applications; and preventing startup failures through systems engineering solutions. It provided hands-on learning on building an algorithm on a TUS D platform, identifying organizational-level ecosystems like the Innovation Development Reference Model and National Innovation Ecosystem Reference Model, assessing Cambodia’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Roadmap 2023 using a system model, and establishing Cambodia’s national innovation ecosystem framework. The APO expects the project to have multiplier effects on enhancing startup incubation programs, related policies, and the development of startups and SMEs in Cambodia.