Cambodia Investment Review

Acceleration To Come For Cambodia’s Tech Ecosystem OCIC Group Visit Europe’s Largest Startups Incubator

Acceleration To Come For Cambodia’s Tech Ecosystem OCIC Group Visit Europe’s Largest Startups Incubator

Cambodia Investment Review

As the official visit to Paris Prime Minster Dr. Hun Manet, successfully solidified the political and economic relations between France and Cambodia, it was also the occasion for the Private Sector to further develop business relationships with French counterparts. The initiation of collaborations to accelerate Cambodia’s digital transformation and fostering growth in the startup sector, took place in multiple occasions and locations in Paris.

On the sidelines of the official visit, OCIC Group had the opportunity to visit Tech institutions such as Station F and School 42 both founded by French iconic Billionaire entrepreneur Xavier Niel. Mr Niel, France’s 10th richest fortune is a tech, telecom, media magnate and philanthropist. He established France’s premier coding school Ecole 42 (School 42) in 2013, and launched Station F in 2017, which became Europe’s largest startup incubator and one of the world’s largest startup campus with 51,000 sqm in Paris 13 district.

Ambrine Kateb, Thierry Tea, Wisal Hin with Mr Olivier Crouzet, Head of Innovation and Learning, School 42 Paris. [Photos Supplied]

Station F alone is gathering impressive key figures larger than the whole of Cambodia’s startup ecosystem. Indeed, Station F is home to 30 startup programs, 35 public administrations, 150 Venture Capital (VC) Funds, 4 mentorship offices and 600+ events per year, including the Founders Program and the Fighters Program.

Station F, Has Collectively Raised More Than $1B In Funding

The Incubated startups in Station F, have collectively raised more than USD 1 Billion in funding, just in the single year of 2023. In 2022, Station F delivered its first Unicorn. A unicorn is a privately-owned startup company valued at over USD 1 Billion. To date, 25 startups has reached unicorn status in France while the US count over 600, China over 300 and India over a 100.

Read more: Investment Strategies for Cambodian Startups During Economic Challenges: Insights from the Techo Startup Center Digital Business Expo

During the first part of the Cambodia Delegation visit to France, OCIC Group and Platform Impact signed in presence of Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Manet, at Medef, an MOU to develop a coding school in Koh Pich.

Following the signing, School 42’s Managing Director Ms Sophie Viger, OCIC Group’s Vice President Thierry Tea and Platform Impact Chairman Hin Wisal official met with His Excellency Sun Chanthol, Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia. The meeting was marked by fruitful discussions on the progress for establishing an institution in Cambodia modeled after the innovative School 42.

Sophie Viger, Wisal Hin, Thierry Tea, HE DPM Sun Chantol, HE Cham Nimol, Neak Okhna Kith Meng [Photos Supplied courtesy of STPM Facebook Page].

Ms Sophie Viger, School 42 Director, a prominent role model in France’s Tech and Education industry,  expressed her strong will to see more diversity in the tech industry and the pressing needs to provide digital and technical skills to young female talents, as female represent 50% of the population of Cambodia, as well as underprivileged or uneducated youth, the opportunity to be included in tomorrow’s digital world.  

School 42, founded by Xavier Niel in 2013, is the first computer programming school free for all and with no diplomas required. Its innovative teaching approach, based on peer to peer learning, has led to an international network guaranteeing the professional integration of students. Given the success of School 42, Platform Impact and OCIC Group are collaborating to create a similar model in Phnom Penh. They therefore were invited to visit School 42 and Station F. To support educational and youth development, OCIC is allocating part of the Connexion, a community center created from an unfinished former shopping center project, to the future school, representing the first “adaptive reuse” and “repurposing” initiative in Cambodia. Located in the heart of Koh Pich, Phnom Penh’s key business district, this 45,000 m² hub incorporates a unique bioclimatic design, aiming to reduce the use of air conditioning and lighting.

Connexion Will Also House OCIC Group’s Innovation Center

Connexion will also house OCIC Group’s Innovation Center, including a startup accelerator and a business center for SMEs, forming a promising ecosystem for Cambodia. These initiatives reflect OCIC’s ongoing commitment to youth, education and innovation. This initiative for inclusive higher education institution, integrated into a sustainable environment, should welcome its first batch of students in the next 18 months.

Read more: Platform Impact & OCIC Group To Develop French-Inspired Coding School At Connexion Community Hub

Connexion, Koh Pich Phnom Penh [Photos Supplied].

Thierry Tea, Vice-President of OCIC Group, said: “Education is the basis for the country to leapfrog into the world’s future digital economy, which will be driven by technology. It is mandatory to invest today for the next 20 years. About 13 years ago, we all were still using pagers, blackberry devices and sms. Today young people do business through multiple devices on telegram and chat GPT is their mentor. Technology will accelerate even faster in the years to come. Cambodia needs to be prepared and our youth need to be properly equipped in the fast-evolving AI world”. Tea added: “Visiting both Station F and School 42 enable us to sharpen our strategy and motivates us to better adapt to the changing landscape of Innovation”.

These visits reinforce OCIC’s commitment to play a proactive role in contributing to support the development of Cambodia’s startup ecosystem and to position Cambodia as a future hub for innovation and digital transformation within the Asean and the Greater Mekong Subregion.

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