Entrepreneurship in Cambodia is nothing new. Home to thousands of small businesses and motivated operators, there is a culture of enterprise in the country that continues to gain momentum. And now, with the guidance and support of the Entrepreneurship Development Fund (EDF) and its network of stakeholders, the ecosystem is poised for the next stage of growth.
On May 5 2022, the EDF board of trustees, chaired by His Excellency Vongsey Vissoth, Minister attached to the Prime Minister and Permanent Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, convened its 11th General Meeting. Joined by members from the private and public sector, the board assessed the performance of Khmer Enterprise’s program delivery and operational efficiency in 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, charting the future of entrepreneurship in the Kingdom based on lessons learned from building the ecosystem.
A policy instrument of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the main priority of the EDF and its autonomous operator, Khmer Enterprise, is to provide support to the nation’s business owners and promote the development of a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem in Cambodia. Through a host of different training programs, networking, assistance packages and other activities promoting the entrepreneurial culture, Khmer Enterprise has provided opportunities to Cambodia’s startups, entrepreneurs and new businesses signalling the rising tide of opportunity in the country’s recovery period.
The flexible operation model of Khmer Enterprise has proved vital to navigating the impacts of Covid-19, allowing the body’s program performance to scale consistently year over year and collaborate with the other influential stakeholders to develop a number of exciting programs and activities. This strategy has also solidified Khmer Enterprise’s reputation as the key platform mobilising entrepreneurs and relevant stakeholders and supporting product and market diversification, digital adoption, and access to finance.
The next funding stage of Khmer Enterprise’s work is expected to offer a diversified set of new financing options to SMEs and startups through grant and co-investment opportunities under the guiding concept of “think big, start small and scale fast.” The launch of this funding strategy will help transform small business operators into mid-sized enterprises and attract high-quality mentors and strategic venture capitalists, serving as a stamp of confidence in this growing ecosystem.
With Covid-19 in the rearview and valuable lessons learned on the importance of building the ecosystem, Khmer Enterprise will also increasingly bring more “future-proof” training programs for local businesses. Its strategic international collaborations will provide all the relevant support and guidance that entrepreneurs need to address current bottlenecks in the market and make their business dreams reality.