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Launching ARC Start-up Accelerator: A New Era for Cambodian Entrepreneurs

by Surya Narayan
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The American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP) has unveiled the ARC Start-up Accelerator at its Technology Centre (ATC), marking a significant stride towards nurturing Cambodia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The launch event, graced by Dr. Chea Vandeth, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, showcased the accelerator established in collaboration with Red Team Partners Global and ChainsAtlast Pte Ltd.

This pioneering accelerator is designed to be a crucible for innovation, offering Cambodian start-ups a global platform for collaboration, growth, and development. Entrepreneurs will benefit from comprehensive membership support, including access to advanced facilities aimed at scaling their ventures.

Dr. Vandeth highlighted the National Government’s dedication to bolstering the start-up landscape as a key component of the country’s economic advancement plans. He emphasized upcoming opportunities for start-ups to gain visibility, particularly at the digital forum scheduled for March, which aims to showcase digital innovations.

The ARC Start-up Accelerator represents a landmark development in Cambodia’s journey towards a sophisticated digital economy. According to ATC representative Dr. Malcolm Mclver, this initiative is particularly relevant in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where digital technologies are revolutionizing industries. He stressed the importance of equipping workers with the necessary skills to thrive in this new digital era.

Zia Bharwani, CEO of Red Team Partners and a mentor at the Accelerator, described the initiative as a catalyst for Cambodian entrepreneurs, focusing on digital technologies and sustainability leadership. The accelerator provides a holistic support system over a three-month period, including business mentoring, access to resources and funding, educational programs, networking, and legal and administrative assistance.

Applications for the program, which runs from January to May 2024, culminated in an Investor Day in September 2024. Jan Hanken, CEO of ChainsAtlas and Netlume and another mentor, highlighted the diverse expertise of over 30 mentors involved, who have collectively supported enterprises in raising over $1 billion.

A panel discussion featuring ARC mentors, including Priya Majumdar and Michelle Loke, shared insights into their entrepreneurial journeys, emphasizing the transformative potential of the accelerator.

Despite Cambodia’s modest ranking in the Global Start-up Ecosystem Index, the nation’s start-up environment is viewed as promising, with Phnom Penh recognized among the top 1,000 global start-up hubs. The ARC Start-up Accelerator is poised to play a pivotal role in elevating Cambodia’s position on the global entrepreneurial stage.

Source: Khmer Times

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