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KOICA grants $7.9M to entrepreneurial ecosystem

Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has granted $7.9 million to the Royal University of Phnom Penh to build a specialized incubation business hub for its students. The grant aims to develop the local entrepreneurial ecosystem – a major factor for Cambodia to achieve its middle-income goal by 2030.

The incubation center’s groundbreaking ceremony was held today and planned to be completed by 2023. The hub will allow students to develop real-world skill sets and encourage them to make mistakes from which they can learn and develop.

The university has said it aims to shift student’s mindsets away from simply passing exams to increasing their employability metrics and meeting the needs of the private sector.

Park Heung-Kyeong, South Korea’s Ambassador to Cambodia told Cambodia Investment Review the project was a great example of Korea sharing its knowledge and resources.

Korea’s policies have resulted in real gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaging 7.3% annually between 1960 and 2019. Korea was able to leverage a strong focus on education spurring the country’s high technology boom and rapid economic development.

Rhu Hyunjun, Cambodian Country Director of KOICA told Cambodia Investment Review that the investment was another step in Korea’s strategic aid development to the region. Adding, the funds should bring the region a step further towards its 2030 social development goals.

Dr Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and told Cambodia Investment Review the hub will move away from traditional exam based preparation towards real world and hands on learning.

He added, that students will be encourage to make mistakes and learn from them with the end goal to increase students employability in the private sector.

Over the past two decades, Cambodia has undergone a significant transition, reaching lower-middle-income status in 2015 and aspiring to attain upper-middle-income status by 2030.

The Cambodian government has continued to promote reforms that facilitate economic transformation by addressing financial sector vulnerabilities, SME development, trade facilitation, labour market functioning and investment promotion.

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