Challenging the Status Quo Through Entrepreneurship

It is not every day that high school students are challenging university students in competition. Yet, at the Liger Leadership Academy, it is what we do—we challenge the status quo, we become the pioneers, and we prepare for whatever comes along. With the academy’s unique education curriculum, innovative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and entrepreneurial projects, students took various tasks that many people think are impossible.  

As an example, in 2017 students were competing in the Business Model Competition (BMC), which is a college-level business competition that seeks ideas from for university students and graduates with innovative business or social venture ideas in one of the five categories: technology, medical/healthcare, general business, clean energy, and agriculture.

In order to enter the competition, a team of three have to create a three-minute video describing their social ventures and submit it to the judges. The selected teams will later receive a series of entrepreneurial training programs from different mentors in the relevant sector.

Last year, four teams from the Liger Leadership Academy were competing. Three entrepreneurs (Dalin, Souyeth, and Samnang) from the academy broke the national record to be the only team to come 2nd-runner-up out of 111 teams. The social venture idea is called WeLocal, a platform that brings tourists who are looking for a culinary adventure around Cambodia to experience the authentic Cambodian food that is freshly cooked.

“The idea was inspired when a few of my classmates and I went to Taiwan to compete in a robotics competition called VEX. It was such an awesome experience but, we didn’t get the experience of interacting with Taiwanese people and/or eating Taiwanese food,” 15-year-old Dalin mentioned.

WeLocal motivated six new teams from Liger and new social ventures to be participants in the competition this year, 2018. Some of the teams are Chaktomuk, Chek Rom Lek, and Uni. Chaktomuk (ចតុមុខ) is a social venture idea that has a core mission to help bring excessive items such as clothes, books, electronic gadgets, shoes, and materials to people and organizations who need them most, while Chek Rom Lek creates an online sharing platform where anyone can upload any educational information in Khmer to our database. On the other hand, Uni mobile is an application that connects students and job-seekers to universities and employers.

Everyone at Liger is trained to be creative thinkers, problem solvers, passionate workers, and entrepreneurs. Liger’s unique, diverse and entrepreneurial community makes it easy for changemakers like us to be able to make the impact and bring ambitious ideas to life. It is important for us to work together and start taking smart actions to solve our community problems, just like an African proverb stated, “if you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

By Samnang Noun

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