Entrepreneurship and Innovation Pillar

To support the capacity development of Entrepreneurs Support Organizations (ESOs) and address the challenges including limited and inadequate technical skills and knowledge, lack of quality and comprehensive support for startups, scarcity of local experts, and low resiliency, the Entrepreneurship, and Innovations pillar implements two programs: the Entrepreneur-In-Residence (EIR) program and the Masterclasses for incubator/accelerator excellence. These programs in conjunction are developed as Strengthen Entrepreneurship and Innovation (SEI) brand that works closely with local ESOs to help them improve their programs and performance, provide high-value services to their network of entrepreneurs, and establish strategic and practical international connections.


Entrepreneurial Ecosystems are complex networks that need certain actors and activities to support enterprises through the various stages of their lifecycle from ideation to growth and sustainability. Ecosystems take decades to build, and most ecosystems are not yet able to drive themselves, especially in emerging markets. Therefore, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Pillar is designed based on the success of SECO’s Swiss Entrepreneurship Program (Swiss EP) implemented by Swisscontact.

Under the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Pillar, the 3Ei initiative launched the Strengthen Entrepreneurship and Innovation (SEI) brand that aims to strengthen entrepreneurs' support organization (ESOs) capacity to deliver quality services to Entrepreneurs through an Entrepreneur-In-Residence (EIR) program and Masterclasses for incubator/accelerator excellence. SEI will onboard international experts whose first-hand experience brings innovative ideas and perspectives to the local ESOs via collaboration with the Entrepreneurs-In-Residence (EIRs) from the Swiss EP program and collaboration with St. Gallen for the Masterclass, for ESOs. In addition, EIRs also provide direct support to startups that will help to fill local skill gaps.

The brand aims to help ESOs overcome the challenges of limited and inadequate technical skills and knowledge, lack of quality support, scarcity of local experts, and low resiliency by collaborating with local ESOs to enhance their programs and performance, and to provide high-value services to their network of entrepreneurs. This will be achieved through strategic and practical guidance, as well as valuable international connections.

Objective of Strengthen Entrepreneurship and Innovation

  • Empowering ESOs for Success: SEI is committed to providing tailor-made support to our partnering ESOs, enhancing their business models, management capacities, communication, mentoring networks, and programs and services for entrepreneurs. By elevating their overall performance, we enable ESOs to better serve startups and entrepreneurs, creating a stronger foundation for Cambodia's entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Bridge technical skill gaps: SEI recognizes the importance of addressing key challenges in the local entrepreneurial landscape. SEI aims to bridge technical skill gaps by onboarding Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) professionals who bring international expertise and hands-on entrepreneurial experience. These EIRs introduce new thinking and innovative approaches, igniting a culture of creativity and adaptive entrepreneurship.
  • Facilitating International Knowledge Transfer and Connections: SEI actively supports ESOs and startups to incorporate international best practices, leveraging global knowledge to fuel local growth. We facilitate partnerships and connections with international entrepreneurial ecosystems, enabling cross-border collaborations that expose entrepreneurs to diverse perspectives, markets, and opportunities.
  • Facilitating for Service Improvement: As part of the commitment to enhancing services for startups and entrepreneurs, SEI introduces Masterclass, a tailored support program that aligns with the Cambodian context. This program targets incubators and accelerators, equipping them with the necessary tools, insights, and expertise to improve their service offerings. By nurturing the growth of these support organizations, we bolster the success of the startups they serve.


At Strengthen Entrepreneurship and Innovation (SEI), the vision is to create a dynamic and resilient entrepreneurial ecosystem in Cambodia that fosters the growth and success of startups and entrepreneurs. We strive to empower Entrepreneurial Support Organizations (ESOs) by providing tailor-made support, addressing key challenges, and facilitating international knowledge transfer and connections. Through our efforts, we aim to build a nurturing environment that nurtures innovation, unlocks potential, and drives sustainable growth.

Strengthen Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the making

SwissEP project launched and showed promise through the Entrepreneurs in Residence model
The SwissEP  project was launched in 2015 to build local startup communities. The project has been ongoing since and currently has a pool of 570 mentors. The SwissEP is a project implemented by Swisscontact and operates in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Serbia, Peru and Vietnam.
Entrepreneurs In Residence along with Masterclass idea integrated within the 3Ei initiative through SEI
The EIR and Masterclass components were integrated within the 3Ei initiative to enable the on boarding of international and regional mentors whose first-hand experience would bring new ideas and perspectives to the local ESOs. The 3Ei has also signed the agreement with St. Gallen University for the masterclasses, including the scope of work and the design of the masterclasses.

Events and Articles

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Enhancing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and Investments (3Ei) Masterclass Elevates Incubator Excellence in Cambodia
The Masterclass, organized by through the Strengthen Entrepreneurship and Innovation brand, was delivered by the prestigious St. Gallen University and brought together 20 participants from 10 different organizations. The program, known as the "Operating Start-up Incubators for Excellence" Masterclass, held from October 23rd to October 26th, 2023, was specifically tailored for the Cambodian incubator ecosystem.