TEKHUB – Empowering Startups
TEKHUB is a brand new resource in Phnom Penh for startup companies. It opened 4 months ago through the support of the Asia Foundation and Impact Hub. TEKHUB is a coworking space for small companies that also provides support and networking opportunities to help them grow. TEKHUB host events to inspire and educate their members. They already reached capacity for companies they can handle.
The Asia Foundation
One of the creators of TEKHUB is The Asia Foundation – a not for profit which focuses on improving lives in the developing parts of Asia. Since 1955 they have fought for women’s empowerment, education, governance, and economic opportunity.
We also heard from Melanie from Impact Hub. Their organization is responsible for the programs TEKHUB puts on for their members. Impact Hub has 80+ open hubs across the world with over 15,000 members. They provide resources to help startups go from an idea to a business. They “believe a better world evolves through the combined accomplishments of creative, committed, and compassionate individuals focused on a common purpose.”
After we learned a little about the organization, we heard from two of the startups that TEKHUB has helped nurture. It was amazing to hear their stories and how they sought to make a better future for their country. Both startups and their hosts really emphasized the importance of tech today for Cambodians. Most Cambodian’s have a smart phone even if they don’t have access to a computer. Facebook is an extremely important tool to get information out to everyone and is the main source of news for most people.
Co-Founder Sreang Boromey talked to us about his passion for connecting students to opportunities. One of the ways to fight the skill gap in Cambodia is education, but young Cambodians lack the network to get ahead. Starting with just a Facebook page sharing scholarships, WEDU Share has grown into a way for students to take control and further their own education.
WEDU Share serves as a resource not just about scholarship opportunities abroad, but also teaches students about the whole application process. Most American schools would have a guidance councilor to help with this challenging time, but WEDU share fill in that gap for Cambodian youth. They teach students about writing resumes and personal statements. They’ve created mentorship programs and started doing in person classes. Sreang Boromey spoke of his hopes that they can get online classes going too, helping to reach teens across the country.
Next we heard from a coder from Codingate. In 2013, Codingate started by teaching students to code in exchange for laptops. Once armed with those skills and the necessary equipment, they began doing sophisticated projects in graphic design, web design, and mobile and web development.
They now have completed over 100 projects and are expanding into designing Facebook pages for clients. Since Facebook is so prevalent in Cambodia, being able to sell directly through Facebook is a game changer for many businesses and they are facilitating that. There business keeps expanding. They now have almost half the space in TEKHUB. Codingate is a true startup success story.