Cambodian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are taking a big step towards exporting their products abroad through the Small Package Export Champions (SPEC) Program. The initiative is supported by Khmer Enterprise (KE) and Swisscontact in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) and other partners. SPEC was launched on 28th June 2022, under the “Improving Small Package e-Trade for SMEs (SeT4SME)” Project of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, to build capacity and networks for SMEs looking to ship small package consignments internationally and drive their export growth.
To date, SPEC has onboarded 15 SMEs and awarded them Gold Certification after completing the program’s expert mentorship and dedicated training. Following the success of SPEC’s first phase, SPEC Phase 2 was designed to extend the program's capacity and network-building activities to more MSMEs at the provincial level.
The SPEC Phase 2 was launched on 20th March 2023 at Khmer Enterprise and was chaired by H.E. Samheng Bora, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Commerce, and is being co-funded by Khmer Enterprise and Swisscontact, through the Improving Small Package e-Trade for SMEs initiative. The initiative is being carried out in conjunction with the Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia Post, the Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA), and the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia (YEAC), all of whom are acting as implementing partners
The primary goal of SPEC Phase 2 is to widen the program's reach by extending its capacity and network-building activities to more micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) at the provincial level. To promote better awareness and understanding of small package shipments and exports, a series of Awareness Training Workshops or Roadshows were held in Phnom Penh as well as four provinces across the country, including Siem Reap, Battambang, Sihanoukville, and Kampong Cham from April until end of May 2023. The workshops specifically targeted women-led businesses and micro-enterprises in these areas to facilitate their participation in the program and improve their overall understanding of the process.
The first training was held in Siem Reap Province with 42 participants, including 32 MSMEs, of which 25 were women-led businesses. The second training was held in Kampong Cham Province with 32 participants, including 19 MSMEs, of which eight were women-led businesses. The third training took place in Sihanoukville with 23 participants, including 13 MSMEs onboarded, of which seven were women-led businesses. The fourth training was conducted in Battambang Province with 33 participants, including 21 MSMEs, of which 16 were women-led businesses. The final roadshow took place in Phnom Penh with 33 participants, including 21 MSMEs, of which 15 were women-led businesses.
During each workshop, dedicated trainers from both the ministries and the private sector proactively provided awareness training on a variety of relevant topics to further the success of export businesses. These topics included onboarding an e-commerce platform, logistics, and supply chain management, enhancing product design, and providing case studies of SMEs that have successfully exported. The training covered many essential topics, such as registration for export businesses, the importance of going digital, and how to leverage e-commerce for continued success. Additionally, the workshops gave detailed explanations of the available logistics options for small package exports, showcased how to make products more attractive for overseas markets, and explained customs rules and export procedures for small package exports. They also delved into paying duty tax for shipping sample products to potential overseas clients as well as how to prepare businesses for emerging opportunities that arise from global e-commerce trends.
The SPEC Program has provided Cambodian SMEs with the vital knowledge and skills needed to compete in the global market. Through the Phase 2 extension, the program successfully reached out to provincial MSMEs, offering them training workshops to raise their awareness on digital export and equip them with the essential tools for success aims to continue to be an indispensable resource for aspiring exporters. Altogether, the roadshows were an invaluable opportunity for aspiring exporters to become fully equipped to thrive in an increasingly digital and global export landscape.
Improving Small Package E-Trade for SMEs (SeT4SME) is a two-year project (2021-2023) of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (the Alliance), implemented by Swisscontact in partnership with Ministry of Commerce (MoC), and with the collaboration of the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE), Cambodia Post, The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Cambodian Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA).