This story was originally posted on Khmer Times.

PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Celebrating their one year anniversary on Saturday, the ARC Hub 3D printing company is moving into the future with the hopes of expanding the tech community in Cambodia and getting involved in STEM education programs.

With the launch of a crowdfunding campaign to support an eight week workshop for Cambodians to learn product development, the company’s co-founder, Ki How Tran, is expecting positive results for the company’s future.

Creating Opportunities
The class is designed to teach anyone who has the ambition to learn the basic steps of product development, Mr. Ki How explained. Free to Cambodians, the course will explain what makes a good product, the process to develop a product and how to make a business with the product.

Utilizing their skills and experience with 3D printing, Mr. Ki How said he hopes to create more opportunities for Cambodians to create their own startups.

While interviewing applicants, Mr. Ki How and his older brother Ki Chong Tran said they are looking for people who “do not have experience, but are looking to do something different.”

“The reason why the workshop is free is because we want even a mechanic to apply his skills to do something else,” he said.

The idea is to incorporate people from different backgrounds into making a product that is marketable and sustainable.

Tech Community on the Rise

After a year of running their own company, the brothers have changed their business plans to suit the market. From Los Angeles, the duo has travelled back and forth between Cambodia and California and is part of a wave of American-born Cambodians setting up shops and businesses in Cambodia. Both see the country as an opportunity for growth and development in the technology sector.

“It started with an idea,” Mr. Ki Chong said. He recalls when he researched 3D printing and enlisted his younger brother, who was talented and naturally curious about engineering, to help him.

They originally started the 3D printing company, ARC Hub PNH, hoping to empower 3D creators in a population of untapped potential.

“We are still growing with 3D printing because it has so many different aspects,” Mr. Ki How explained. They were interested in doing prosthetics. Medical field is advancing with 3D printing and is currently researching designing prescription pills.

“When we opened, there wasn’t much of a market,” said Mr. Ki How. “We did a lot of networking and held events to spread the information of what 3D printing does.” Now, they supply 3D printers for home or professional use – even to fashion designers.

The Tech Generation

One of the goals was to spread 3D printing through schools. Teaching over 2,000 students in the Cambodian Children’s Fund, Liger Learning Center, and other schools, the company is educating the next generation in design through the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs. The sector has many opportunities but has limited resources in education in Cambodia.

Mr. Ki How is currently working on using recycled materials for 3D printing, and he now sees that technology is changing faster than the mindset of the older generation. But there has been a lot of support for them as they invest in the technology sector for the country’s development.

ARC Hub is assisting the Ministry of Education in preparing Cambodia as they open the country up to ASEAN integration.

“There are some people who are a bit older who are supporting it, even if they are not into 3D printing or design,” said Mr. Ki How. “They are supporting the tech revolution in Cambodia.”

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