Enhancing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and Investments (3Ei) Masterclass Elevates Incubator Excellence in Cambodia

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
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.

Under the auspices of the Enhancing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and Investments (3Ei) initiative and the Strengthen Entrepreneurship and Innovation brand (SEI), an innovative Masterclass aimed at enhancing the quality of offerings from incubators and accelerators while scrutinizing current incubator and accelerator curriculums for startups has been successfully conducted. The primary goal of this initiative is to elevate the quality of entrepreneurial education, enhance coaching standards, bolster the financial stability of incubators, and strengthen the entire startup ecosystem.

The program commenced with the drafting of a preliminary curriculum, followed by an in-depth needs assessment involving key stakeholders and the target audience. Semi-structured interviews were employed to analyze the requirements of both the startup ecosystem and its key interest groups. These interviews revealed essential dimensions necessary for the sustainable enhancement of incubator excellence. Subsequent interviews further delved into the financial perspectives of incubators and potential financing avenues, providing valuable insights.

"The Train the Trainer approach is designed to maximize impact, so we do not only teach the participants of the masterclass, but we are also teaching the ecosystem as a whole."
Dr. Justus von Grone, University of St. Gallen

The outcome of this meticulous process is a curriculum divided into four modules designed to amplify incubator excellence and, consequently, enhance the startup landscape and ecosystem in Cambodia. This curriculum will be complemented by a four-month online coaching phase, ensuring the Master Class content is integrated effectively into the incubators.

The first module, "Building Startup Coach Excellence," focused on equipping participants with knowledge of startup coaching and mentoring. It emphasizes self-reflection, mastery of diverse coaching techniques, and hands-on training through role-playing and simulations. The curriculum delves into essential approaches like experiential and action learning, addressing the psychological dynamics of entrepreneurs. Participants gain practical knowledge transfer, enabling them to effectively apply their skills in real-world scenarios.

Module 2, "Tools for Startup and Incubator Excellence," aimed to equip participants with comprehensive business evaluation expertise. It delves into key tools like the St. Gallen Startup Navigator, Business Model Canvas, and St. Gallen Circular Navigator. Attendees learn how to strategically tailor their approach to specific business scenarios, optimizing value for startup founders. Practical strategies are emphasized through group exercises and real-world case scenarios, ensuring participants can adeptly support startups in diverse contexts.

Module 3, "Building Incubator Excellence," aimed to empower participants to refine incubator curricula by integrating fresh insights and aligning them with market demands. A dynamic hackathon format fosters innovation using the existing curriculum, promoting collaboration and immediate problem-solving. Central topics addressed include marketing, financing, scaling, ecosystems, and founder selection, ensuring a well-rounded, practical learning experience.

Module 4, "Running Incubator Excellence & Creating an Ecosystem," delved into understanding innovation ecosystems using insights from a best practice case study and exploring their potential adaptation for the Cambodian setting. Participants gain expertise in incubator financing strategies, emphasizing sustainable financial models and incubator self-sustainability. Hands-on sessions focus on the application of these strategies, helping attendees craft a strategic roadmap for their incubators within the broader ecosystem.

"So one thing that inspired me the most to join this program is because it is very intensive. I am also very interested to learn how they build capacity of incubators, learn about the tools and the chance to connect with incubators."
Kimhorng Lim, Business Development Coordinator, CADT
"The Masterclass is I think very good for us, specifically to build my skill and capacity so that I can manage and run the incubator and also start a program which will benefit the participants."
Vanna Sy, Senior Manager of HR Development, CJCC

Following the intensive Masterclass, virtual support will be provided for four months. This support will commence from November 2023, and will run through until February 2024. The objective is to further refine the curricula of the incubators, ensuring they align most effectively with the needs of stakeholders, notably founders and investors, as Cambodia's startup ecosystem continues to evolve and prosper.

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Enhancing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and Investments (3Ei)
The overall goal of the 3Ei is for the private sector to actively contribute to the Cambodia's socio-economic development and attaining the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The achievement of this overall goal will be driven by two outcomes: enhanced coordination, and collaboration within the entrepreneurial ecosystem; and increased business performance and investments in the ecosystem.