Every day in Cambodia, entrepreneurs are invited to push the boundaries of business via cloud computing infrastructure and other startup support programs. USAID supports these efforts through a recently awarded, $15 million initiative with the University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley), Cambodian universities, and global tech giants such as Amazon.
During the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Jam Startup in Phnom Penh, Mr. Chanda Pen, Chief of Party of the USAID Digital Workforce Development (DWD) project, spoke to the audience about the newly-launched project:
“We are providing resources in terms of capacity building at universities and for students especially. This is why we are here partnering with Amazon to highlight the practical skills that Amazon and other companies in today’s digital workplace need, and how we can help facilitate that.”
As Cambodia builds its digital economy, most university courses are outdated. To bridge this gap, experts from Berkeley will train lecturers and faculty members on strategic decision-making, teach new courses, and design new modules. By providing, short courses, and training trainers at universities, USAID’s five-year program works with Amazon and other international tech companies to deliver cloud computing and other tech certifications. Scholarships, internships, and networking opportunities form integral components of this work.
Ms. Rebecca Black, USAID/Cambodia Acting Mission Director underscored the vision of the DWD initiative: "USAID has a history of partnership and successful collaboration in education as well as with youth, here in Cambodia. We're honored to now be able to expand this partnership to the private sector for the ultimate benefit of Cambodia's growing digital economy. Our aim is to eventually team-up with American companies, including others from Silicon Valley, and better identify the tools needed to build a successful startup here. We're lucky to partner with outstanding thought-leaders from Berkeley on this initiative.”
There are a lot of pre-build solutions startups can leverage to go to market very quickly and scale without hiring machine learning experts, who are expensive and hard to find. Several startups in Cambodia are already using AWS cloud computing, including Nham24, PiPay, Banhji, BookMeBus, and Bongloy. This lowers the cost of innovation, which is key for entrepreneurs and founders.
As an example, he noted that during the pandemic there were large spikes in demand for food and grocery delivery. Since migrating to the AWS Horizontal System and Elastic Container Service, Nham24’s tech team can respond more effectively to resource requirements and optimize costs.
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