An analysis of the Phnom Penh entrepreneurial ecosystem

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
20.01.2021
An entrepreneur's support network is a vital element in the journey to a successful business. The Credit Suisse – Swisscontact (CSSC) Initiative published new research conducted together with Impact Hub Phnom Penh to understand how well the players in the entrepreneurial network of people and resources are connected in Cambodia's capital city.

The publication "Connecting the Phnom Penh entrepreneurial ecosystem" analysed what is needed to make Phnom Penh a desirable place for local, regional and international entrepreneurs. It aims to provide guidance on how to better connect the actors within this system. To capture and visualise the dynamics between individuals and organisations, the study used social network analysis surveys.

The Credit Suisse – Swisscontact Ecosystem Health Framework

Ecosystems thrive when people and resources are connected and work together to support entrepreneurs through all the stages of business growth and development. Swisscontact used its experience to develop a framework measuring the maturity of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Ecosystem Health Framework encompasses 6 dimensions, serving as a lens through which the ecosystem can be analysed.  

Support organisations are not well connected

This research shows that besides a small core of well-connected organisations, the majority of support organisations within Phnom Penh are not strongly connected and do not exchange knowledge freely.

Ideally, support organisations are able to help entrepreneurs find additional services to meet their needs, but with poor communication these organisations are not able to refer entrepreneurs appropriately.

One possible reason for this low connectivity could be that the entrepreneurial scene in Phnom Penh is young, and therefore support organisations have not had the time to build close connections among themselves. By bringing together entrepreneurs and different support organisations, it is possible to promote collaboration and build links between programmes.

Entrepreneurs tend not to engage in exchange with peers

Another key finding from the study was that the entrepreneurs in Phnom Penh tend to have little exchange of knowledge with their peers. Mentoring as a form of knowledge sharing and learning among peers is still a new concept in Cambodia. This reinforces the view that there is a lack of a vibrant peer exchange culture, representing a gap in the Phnom Penh ecosystem. To foster trust and a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, programmes need to create opportunities for peer exchange and mentoring. 

This research is a product of the Credit Suisse – Swisscontact (CSSC) Initiative, funded by the Credit Suisse Financial Inclusion Initiative (FII) and implemented by Swisscontact in collaboration with Impact Hub Phnom Penh.