Technology entrepreneur

Role Model Raises Cambodia’s Female Tech Startup Scene

Heang Omuoy has risen from poverty to tech powerhouse. After launching several successful tech startups, she is now inspiring a generation of young Cambodian women to follow in her footsteps and chase their dreams.
Heang Omuoy (right), founder of several tech startups and companies, poses for picture with Rith Sovandalin, founder of Code for Girls
Heang Omuoy (right), founder of several tech startups and companies, poses for picture with Rith Sovandalin, founder of Code for Girls

Heang Omuoy is a young, emerging woman leader in technology. Her rise from a humble background is among a small percentage of women working in the field.

With little support from her family, Omuoy learned firsthand only education can help her to have a bright future and change her destiny.

As an underprivileged student, she was offered a fully-funded scholarship to study Science in Web Programming at the Passerelles numeriques Cambodia in Phnom Penh. She went on to obtain a Master of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Puthisastra.

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Today, Omuoy is the founder of several tech startups and companies, in addition to heading a Japanese-funded institution that provides education in technology and engineering.

Born in Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh, Omuoy started her early career in 2012 as a software developer at a private company. She then became project manager at another international company.

In 2017, Omuoy established her first software development company, CamSolution Technology.

“To me personally, I believe technology is the backbone of all business operations. So, I decided to establish CamSolution Technology aiming to facilitate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to scale up and grow steadily in the age of digitalization,” said Omuoy.

The young founder and CEO said CamSolution Technology offers various services, including web design, web development, and web application development. In addition to this web development firm, she has also co launched tech and e-commerce startups, including Tech for Kids and Wemall Cambodia. She hopes her business ventures will create value for society at large and sustainable development.

“I have been involved in the technology sector for a decade and I can say women in entrepreneurship, the digital economy, and technology are closely connected to my heart. This is what I love doing and what makes me happy,” she said.

“As an entrepreneur, it does not mean being cool, but to be a real problem solver and create a positive impact on society.”

In 2019, she won the Cambodia Women in Tech award and an international award as regional ambassador of the year at Technovation Cambodia.

Before being in the position she holds dearly now, Omuoy said she encountered crucial challenges, like other Cambodian women in the technology field. The lack of women role models and support from the surrounding environment are the main reasons that may prevent women from unleashing their full potential.

“To overcome all those cultural and social norm barriers, I must prove to them with results to be accepted. I should not ask anyone for help because I am a woman or I’m weak. But I should convince them to work with me because I’m qualified enough to do the work,” explained Omuoy.

Rith Sovandalin, 18, is a founder of Code for Girls, which aims to foster basic coding skills for girls and women, especially those in Cambodia’s rural provinces. Omuoy is her role model in the tech and innovation field.

“My parents do not support what I have been doing, but there are people around me, like Omuoy, who inspire me. I think she plays an essential role in encouraging me to continue doing what I love,” she said.

Sovandalin is now a freshwoman student majoring in app and web development at Tux Global Institute, where Omuoy is president. After graduation, she said she plans to run a tech startup and follow what her role model has accomplished.

“She [Omuoy] has been involved a lot in technology [sector] and what she has done is absolutely brilliant. It is even interesting to know that she is heading a big tech institution like Tux Global at this young age,” Sovandalin said.

According to the Digital Skills Assessment Report by Cambodia Development Resource Institute and Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology, a growing number of Cambodian university students have chosen to major in computer science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in recent years.

At the tertiary level in 2019, 7.7 percent of Cambodian students enrolled in Information Technology courses and 25.5 percent in STEM. However, as in many other parts of the world, enrollment in these majors saw a large gender gap, as “females accounted for about 16 percent of the total enrollment”.