PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (30 June 2022) — Cambodia’s technology-based startups have grown rapidly in recent years, with the supporting ecosystem boosted by policies and infrastructure geared toward their development, according to a new report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Programs including Khmer Enterprise and the Startup Cambodia National Program have emerged to help startups in areas such as digital platforms, seed funding, and research. These efforts are supported by policies such as the Cambodia Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework, according to the report, Cambodia’s Ecosystem for Technology Startups.
“The Government of Cambodia clearly recognizes the importance of tech startups in the growth and development of the country,” said ADB Economist Paul Vandenberg, one of the report’s lead authors. “To facilitate this, the government has put in place key mechanisms and policies to support entrepreneurs.”
As with most countries, fintech and e-commerce dominate the tech startup landscape in Cambodia, as opposed to startups focused on education (edtech), health (healthtech), agriculture (agritech), and the environment (greentech)—all of which are considered to have high development impact. The report looks at these four areas and their potential to contribute to Cambodia’s inclusive and sustainable development.
Fostering the emergence of more startups in key development areas is a challenge, according to the report, as it requires more entrepreneurs to focus on these fields and develop them. But the government can also play a role by providing targeted support through dedicated incubators and accelerators, making available mentors with sector expertise, and supporting research activities in higher learning institutions.
Determining the number of startups active in the country is difficult because the market is fluid with new ventures arising regularly and existing ones failing or becoming dormant, according to the report. At the end of 2021, there were 90 startups registered with the Startup Cambodia National Program, while one major incubator noted 150 active members.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.