The SmartEdu University Student Development Program (USDP) is back with a big hit, with three semi-finalists delivering digital solutions to senior management in Heineken Cambodia, Prudential Cambodia and Smart Axiata. The grand finale was held on November 24, chaired by His Excellency Dr. Hang Chun Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, His Excellency Al-Din Hosseini Mohamad Hashim, Malaysia’s Ambassador to Cambodia, and Dato Izzuddin Idris, President and Group Chairman. CEO of Axiata Group Berhad.
The SMART team, consisting of eight undergraduate students, introduced an innovative referral program to solve the challenge of encouraging electronic recharges among mobile users, was selected as the winner of the CEO challenge, and won a cash prize of $1,800. The solution, which was developed in just 48 hours, was judged a remarkable innovation by Acting Smart Axiata CEO Firouz Brothers, Prudential Cambodia’s CFO Balaji Ravi, and Heineken Cambodia’s Chief Digital Officer, Franco Zhao.
Other awards presented during the Grand Final included 1st Place Winner for Best Performing Team, with a cash prize of $1000, and Best Performance Team, with a cash prize of $1,400. Eight top performers were also honored and given a fully paid internship for two months at Axiata Group in Malaysia.
Speaking at the SmartEdu USDP Cohort 3 Awards, Firoz Brothers said the program is designed to empower Cambodian youth with ICT innovation skills and capabilities that will help boost the country’s digital economy.
“SmartEdu USDP is a great opportunity for Cambodian youth to learn real-life problem-solving skills in a simulated environment. Participants were encouraged to disrupt the status quo, think outside the box and take calculated risks. We are so proud that we played a role in unleashing their digital leaders and developing the best digital business minds In Cambodia, the 13-day intensive training camp, which was enabled through the Capacity Building and Research and Development Fund, could not have taken place without the massive support of the Ministry of Posts and Communications and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.”
The programme, which was launched in 2018, returned to the kingdom after a year-long hiatus in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 48 Cambodian students were selected from among 12 universities across the country, and were first divided into eight teams who underwent a training camp at the Garden City Hotel in Phnom Penh. They have improved their communication skills, creativity and critical thinking, as well as emotional intelligence. All participants went through many challenges, workshops and simulations related to digital business where they were pushed to the limit and provided 360 degree feedback on each other.
Yim Salinda, CEO Challenge winning team member said: “All the sleepless nights during bootcamp were worth it because other than just business skills, I learned so many valuable lessons in life especially when it comes to working as a team manager. The CEO Challenge was an experience Brilliant. It was hard to work under pressure and time constraints, but I have no regrets because this camp has completely prepared me as a future leader.”
SmartEdu USDP was launched in October 2018 as part of a tripartite memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Post and Communications and Smart Axiata. As part of the MoU, Smart has committed to investing $1.5 million over three years in two SmartEdu programs – the SmartEdu Scholarship Program and the SmartEdu USDP.
SmartEdu USDP is expected to develop the best digital business minds in Cambodia, giving young people the tools and skills to help drive the country’s tech landscape.
For more information and updates about SmartEdu software, follow the Facebook Smart for Cambodia page at www.facebook.com/smartforcambodia or visit https://www.smartedu.com.kh.