ABA Bank supports Mekong Business Challenge 2019 to promote startups in the region
On Saturday, March 16, ABA Bank became a sponsor of Mekong Business Challenge 2019, a leading annual entrepreneurship competition for university students across the Greater Mekong region. Held in Phnom Penh this year, the Challenge aimed to inspire and educate smart student entrepreneurs who launch businesses and social ventures that will deeply impact communities in the region.
The Challenge attracted 11 university teams – Cambodia (three teams), Vietnam (two teams), Myanmar (two teams), Bhutan (two teams), Thailand (one team) and Lao (one team) – to compete for the opportunity to represent the region at the 2019 International Business Model Competition (IBMC), the first and largest lean startup competition in the world, in the United States. The business ideas submitted for this year’s Challenge consisted of the employment of mobile technology for education and tourism as well as innovative solutions to improve medical conditions of people with Parkinson’s disease, and more.
Speaking on the event, ABA’s Head of Marketing Igor Zimarev said, “Mekong Business Challenge is a great initiative to promote entrepreneurship in Cambodia, as well as in our region. In line with our CSR policy and core values, ABA is delighted to support such an event, and we wish to see more and more young Cambodians jump into business sectors to drive further the country’s economic development.”
Among 11 teams pithing their business model canvas to the judges, Myanmar Maritime University’s MM Tutors team was nominated with the Gold Medal and Champion's Cup, while Happy Walk from Mahidol University Thailand received the Silver Medal, and Job Seekers from Liger Leadership Academy Cambodia received the Bronze Medal. MM Tutors team from Myanmar now receives a fully supported trip to the US, to compete in the upcoming IBMC which will be held on 9-10 May 2019.
“The teams from this year’s Mekong Challenge were very inspiring, pitching a wide variety of ideas related to education, medical technology, mobile apps, agriculture and culinary arts. It shows that the future of entrepreneurship and innovation in Cambodia and the greater Mekong sub-region is very bright,” said Stephen Paterson, Program Coordinator of Mekong Challenge.
Initially hosted as the National Business Plan Competition in 2006 by the National University of Management (NUM) in Phnom Penh, the Competition has later expanded to six countries in the Greater Mekong sub-region including Bhutan. With the encouragement to promote students’ initiatives to startup business, the platform requires participants to design new innovative business models using lean startup methodology to experiment and validate their assumptions before they move further with their business ideas.