STARTUPS

Cambodian Health Startups Head to Switzerland to Build Business

Three Cambodian health startups have won the chance to travel to Switzerland to scale-up their business and strengthen the Kingdom's health sector as part of the Lafiya Innovators program
The three winning teams, MeetDoctor, Green Lady, and Agri House. Kiripost via Impact Hub Phnom Penh
The three winning teams, MeetDoctor, Green Lady, and Agri House. Kiripost via Impact Hub Phnom Penh

Three award-winning Cambodian health startups will represent the Kingdom at an incubation program in Switzerland in a move that aims to strengthen the local health ecosystem and entrepreneurship capacity.

The last three months have seen 10 health-related startup teams take part in the Lafiya Innovators program. This intensive incubation period involved a series of masterclasses and one-to-one mentoring sessions with the program’s dedicated mentor, and health and finance Expert.

This month saw the 10 teams pitch to a panel of judges and public audience on their startup and its positive impact on Cambodia’s health sector. As a result, three startups were selected to represent the Kingdom at Lafiya Immersion Week in Switzerland. They were also awarded a 10,000CHF ($10,381) cash prize to strengthen their operations.

The health incubation program supports and accelerates early-operational startups focused on health-related themes, while strengthening the health ecosystem and entrepreneurship capacity by bringing together and engaging a strong community of health stakeholders, both locally and globally.

The winning startups are Meet Doctor, which helps people with medical conditions gain fast and easy access to highly-qualified doctors; Green Lady Cambodia, which provides safer menstrual product choices, educates young people on sexual and reproductive health topics, and facilitates menstruation classes with sewing workshops for girls and women; and Agri House, which produces and sells cricket-enhanced, nutritionally-balanced snacks for primary school-aged children.

Hok Sovanvotey, founder of Green Lady Cambodia, expressed her interest after joining the program with Impact Hub. She believes she can learn new skills to help to elevate her startup more in a sustainable way.

“From this program, I can access the necessary tools for my growth in the entrepreneurship journey. I appreciate the one-on-one mentorship plus coaching that the Impact Hub team has designed and put together attentively to fit the nature of the startup. I appreciate all the mentors, coaches, and teams that put efforts into this program to promote and inspire more happy and balanced entrepreneurs,” she said.

Winning the competition in the Lafiya program has inspired her to dream bigger. Now her mission is to alleviate gender inequality through her business concept by educating young citizens about Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) topics, and facilitating menstruation classess.

She said, “At first, I didn’t expect to win the competition, or even think about pursuing the opportunity initially, because of the fear of “dreaming big”. [But] what pushes me forward through this program is, I believe, the need to heal the gender role inequality in society.”

She added, “Pitching to the public pushed my team and me to expose more to the public, tell them about what I am currently doing to bring more awareness on sexual and reproductive health, and invite them to think about what else can help solve the problem [in this area].”

After being selected as a winner, Sovanvotey will now travel to Switzerland to learn more about what needs to be undertaken to improve her startup, as well as bring positive impact to Cambodia’s sexual and reproduction health sector.

Socheat Chi, Country Director of PSI Cambodia and Lafiya Innovators 2022 judge, said it is encouraging to see more programs like this that provide more opportunities for young entrepreneurs to show their potential and grow.

“I am glad and inspired to be part of the final pitch, excited to see many innovations and enthusiasm of the young innovative entrepreneur. This is a really good program for the young generation, and I hope Impact Hub can host other programs like this in the future,” added Socheat.

PSI Cambodia implements programs that support national policies and strategies to improve access to health products, services, and to promote healthy behaviors related to HIV/AIDS, reproductive, maternal and child health, nutrition, malaria, and TB.

About “Lafiya Innovators”

“Lafiya Innovators” is a health incubation program that supports and accelerates early-operational startups focused on health-related thematics.

This program is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Foundation Botnar and organized by Impact Hub Phnom Penh and Impact Hub Basel.

The three winning ventures will now join the ecosystem tour in Switzerland alongside the winners from Dhaka, Medellin and Accra.