While the successful official visit to Paris of Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Hun Manet further solidified political and economic relations between France and Cambodia, it was also an occasion for the private sector to further develop business relations with their French counterparts.
And during the first part of the Cambodia delegation's visit to France, Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation (OCIC) and Platform Impact signed an MoU – in the presence of the Cambodian Prime Minister – on developing a coding school on Phnom Penh's Koh Pich.
On the sidelines of the official visit, OCIC Group had the opportunity to visit tech institutions such as 42, known as School 42, and Station F, both founded by billionaire French entrepreneur Xavier Niel.
“Visiting both Station F and 42 enabled us to sharpen our strategy and motivated us to better adapt to the changing landscape of innovation.
“Education is the basis for the country to leapfrog into the world’s future digital economy, which will be driven by technology.
"Technology will accelerate even faster in the years to come, and Cambodia needs to be prepared and our youth need to be properly equipped for the fast-evolving AI world,” said Thierry Tea, Vice-President of OCIC Group.
School 42, France’s premier coding school, was established in 2013, while 2017 saw the launch of Station F, which became Europe’s largest startup incubator.
In 2022, Station F delivered its first "unicorn" – a privately owned startup company valued at more than US$1 billion.
Given the success of Station F and School 42, Platform Impact and OCIC Group are collaborating to create a similar model in Phnom Penh, and were therefore invited to visit the two tech institutions.
To support educational and youth development in Cambodia, OCIC is allocating part of the Connexion – a 45,000sqm hub located in the heart of Koh Pich incorporating a unique bioclimatic design to reduce the use of air conditioning and lighting.
Connexion will also house OCIC Group's Innovation Center, including a startup accelerator and a business centre for SMEs, forming a promising ecosystem for Cambodia.
Reflecting OCIC's ongoing commitment to youth, education and innovation, this initiative for inclusive higher education institution, integrated into a sustainable environment, should welcome its first batch of students in the next 18 months.
Visits such as the recent one to Paris reinforce OCIC’s commitment to playing a proactive role in supporting the development of Cambodia’s startup ecosystem, and to position the Kingdom as a future hub for innovation and digital transformation within ASEAN and the Greater Mekong Subregion.