Phnom Penh // June 6 – 10, 2016

Applications Closed

This Cambodia Business Model Validation Lab is a 5-day accelerator for early/idea-stage, Cambodia-based entrepreneurs that are tackling social and environmental problems. It is designed to help these entrepreneurs rapidly identify and validate the foundational assumptions of their business.

Why Cambodia:
Cambodia is perfect: entrepreneurial and unreasonable. For the first time the Unreasonable Institute has found a home in Cambodia, the perfect match due to the incredible entrepreneurial community flourishing here. From mentors, to funders, to corporations, to government, to universities, Cambodia is the perfect home for Unreasonable. We are ready to directly support ventures based in and impacting Cambodia and help them access a rich ecosystem of support. Beyond supporting start-up ventures, we are partnering with companies having positive impact in Cambodia: for example, we are hosting one of our Labs at Impact Hub Phnom Penh, a co-working space for Cambodian impact entrepreneurs, and we will source catering from locally-based suppliers.

Get Involved:
Apply to be an entrepreneur, become a mentor, be a sponsor, or help our Lab team find entrepreneurs. Read on to get involved!

The Problem

The early stages of a startup are marked with questions. Who is my customer? What problems do they have? Do I have a solution to their problems? What are they willing to pay? Will I be able to break even? An entrepreneur’s ability to quickly convert these questions into answers is one of the few characteristics that separates successful startups from failed ones. The problem is that few entrepreneurs know the rapid and systematic approach required to answer these questions. They go too slow, they focus on the wrong things in the wrong order, and they move forward without truly validating a business model.

The Lab & Curriculum

The Business Model Validation Lab is designed to do one thing: provide entrepreneurs with a step-by-step methodology to rapidly and systematically validate their venture’s business model. Entrepreneurs will:

Identify the foundational assumptions that underpin your venture.

Design and run experiments to validate / invalidate the foundational assumptions (through customer discovery and rapid prototyping)

Meet with mentors to get feedback and develop next steps.

Daily Schedule

The curriculum of the Lab oscillates between in-classroom workshop time and in-market customer interaction time.

  • Connector.

    Day 1

    Starts with orientation and workshop on assumption mapping in the morning. The afternoon is spent interacting with target customers.

  • Connector.

    Day 2

    Starts with a workshop in the morning on how to rapidly prototype. In the afternoon entrepreneurs will physically build a prototype.

  • Connector.

    Day 3

    Starts with a workshop on how to build powerful, long-term relationships with mentors, funders, and partners. Entrepreneurs prepare for Mentor Day in the afternoon.

  • Connector.

    Day 4

    Mentor Day! 10-15 mentors will attend the Lab to work directly with entrepreneurs.

  • Connector.

    Day 5

    Begins with a workshop on how to validate the cost assumptions in the business. Afternoon is spent on strategic planning.

Tangible Outcomes

By the end of Lab entrepreneurs will have something to show for their work. They will have:

  • Learned a repeatable methodology for how to do customer discovery
  • Built 2-3 prototypes of a key element of their venture
  • Tested prototypes with real customers
  • Learned how to build and maintain mentor relationships
  • Met and received feedback from 10-12 world-class mentors
  • Conducted a break-even analysis of their business and identified the key cost and financial assumptions of their business
  • Built out a basic budget and financial model
  • Created a 6-month operating plan


This Lab will actively involve a diverse set of mentors. These mentors will be custom-selected after selecting the Lab ventures to assure mentors meet their needs. Interested in mentoring? Email Alberto.


Sokunpanha You
Financial expert

Mayte de Vries
Renewable energy Expert

Mélanie Perisse
Social Business Consultant

Ian Jones
Social Enterprise Consultant

Nadia Wong
Business Advisor

Wesley Jordan
Business Consultant

Coralie Baudet
Creative Consultant

Ian Croft
Finance Expert

Ki-Chong Tran
Technical Advisor

Roswell Thomas
Business Advisor

Mary Luthy-Huy
Business Advisor

Celia Boyd
Social Enterprise Consultant

Akira Morita
Design Thinking Consultant

FAQ’s & More About This Program

Application and Selection
Send youe application here before May 9th.
Entrepreneurs who are eligible are:

  • Committed to social and environmental impact with their venture
  • Idea-to-early-stage in their venture’s development
  • Based in Cambodia (more on location below)
  • For-profit or non-profit
  • 18 years of age or older

Here’s a bit more on location:

  • If I am an entrepreneur from an adjacent to Cambodia. Can I apply for this Lab? If you are outside Cambodia you can still apply. But please know that we will prioritize entrepreneurs from Cambodia. But if you can make a compelling case, we might consider your application.
  • My venture’s headquarters are here in Cambodia, but my operations are elsewhere? Can I apply? It depends. The Business Model Validation Lab is designed for ventures to interact directly with their target market during the Lab. For example, during the Lab entrepreneurs will go and do “customer discovery” by interviewing people (in-person) in their target market. If you are unable to do this because your venture’s operations are elsewhere, then the Lab will be less valuable to you. In any case, please feel free to reach out us if you have specific questions about this.
This Business Model Validation Lab is designed for idea-stage to very early-stage entrepreneurs who are trying to figure out:

  • Who their target customer is
  • What, exactly, is the problem their target customer has
  • What their product/service offering looks like (they haven’t built a prototype yet or have just begun building prototypes) and if it meets the needs of the target customer

Entrepreneurs are too late if:

  • They know (with a very high level of confidence and specificity) who their customer is
  • They know (with a very high level of confidence and specificity) what problem their customer has
  • They know (with a very high level of confidence and specificity) that their solution solves their customer’s problem
  • They have a product/service that is in mainstream production
  • They have substantial sales
Entrepreneurs will complete the short online application (link above). Then the Unreasonable Lab Team will review all submitted applications and schedule 30-minute interviews with those who move on. After the interviews, 10-12 entrepreneurs will be offered a spot in the Lab.
We have tried to keep costs as affordable as possible and therefore the fee for the 5 day Lab is $50. This covers lunch and completion certificate.

5 full scholarships are available. You will be asked to complete an additional application form and come for interview to win a scholarship.

Lab Details
If you are accepted to attend the Lab, we will ask that you attend the Lab in its entirety. The curriculum is cohesive and builds upon itself, meaning that if you miss a day, you will be at a significant disadvantage.
Each Day is different!

The Lab will feature both time in the classroom (learning principles of how to validate your business model) and time in market with your customers where you will be interviewing them and having them interact with your prototypes. There will also be one entire day dedicated to working with mentors. Throughout the course of the Lab, you will have plenty of time to work and rest. Taking time to digest the material is an important piece of acceleration!

Day 1: Day 1 starts with a brief orientation and workshop in the morning, followed by an afternoon interacting with target customers.

Day 2: Day 2 starts with a workshop in the morning on how to rapidly prototype. In the afternoon, entrepreneurs will physically build a prototype and then go out again to meet with target customers.

Day 3: Day 3 starts with more time interacting with target customers before having an afternoon workshop on how to build powerful relationships with mentors, funders, and partners.

Day 4: Day 4 is a mentor day when 10-15 mentors will attend the Lab to work directly with entrepreneurs.

Day 5: Day 5 begins with a workshop in the morning on how to validate the cost assumptions in each venture before spending the afternoon working on strategic planning. Then the Lab concludes.

We are not able to offer accommodation but can certainly provide you with a range of suggested options.
You will only gain access to the network of mentors and entrepreneurs who attend this Lab.
Be a Supporter
If you are interested in being a mentor we would love to share a conversation with you.

We are looking for energetic and passionate people, who want to see aspiring entrepreneurs in Cambodia thrive. Ideally you will have worked in Cambodia for at least 2 years and not only have excellent experience in your chosen field, also have strong communication and listening skills.

Click here to email Alberto to discuss becoming a mentor.

We call the people who help us find venture Pipeline Partners. If you are interested in helping us find ventures we would love to share a conversation with you. Click here to email Alberto to discuss becoming a Pipeline Partner.
We would love to explore sponsorship opportunities with you. Click here to email Alberto to discuss sponsorship opportunities.
Got energy and enjoy doing something new? We’d LOVE to work with you.

We’re looking for people to help make the Lab run smoothly so if you’re organised, love details and logistics and are ready for a challenge, get in touch.

We’re also looking for writers, bloggers, story-tellers to write about the Lab to tell the world about the incredible of Cambodia’s entrepreneurs.

Click here to email Laura about working with us.

Pipeline Partners

Pipeline Partners are organizations that help us find the entrepreneurs. Like us, they support entrepreneurs doing good in the world. If you want to become a Pipeline Partner for this Lab, please Email Mélanie.


Here’s who made this possible.
Email Alberto to discuss sponsorship opportunities.

Our Team

Here is the team that made this happen.


Bringing people together – Alberto is all about partnerships, mentors and sponsorships


Thinking about signing up, not sure if you should participate? Worry no more, ask Laura!


With none stop energy and the biggest smile, Melanie is co-ordinating the party!


She’s ready with a camera, laptop and pen – communications is her thing!


The man with the plan – Aubin is making the Lab run smooth as silk!

Sophea Kuy
Details-focused, we can be sure that our Lab will reach the stars, with Phea!

Chhunny Noem
The quiet strength of the team, he will take care of our candidates.