The overarching objective of this GLI Landscaping Study in Cambodia, to be completed within 2023, is to comprehensively assess the landscape of GLI in Cambodia. The primary aim is to identify challenges, opportunities, and strategic entry points that can foster the growth of GLI in Cambodia, with a specific focus on nurturing a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem. The GLI study is part of the Enhancing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and Investments (3Ei) initiative and will feed into the 5-year entrepreneurial ecosystem roadmap currently being designed.
Welcoming the participants with her opening remarks, Ms. Etsuko Ito, Program Officer, Gender Investment and Innovation Program at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, outlined the objectives of the GLI Landscape Study. She emphasized the significance of GLI in the context of business and workforce development, underscoring its direct positive impact on women and their families. Ms. Ito also highlighted the growing trend of private investment funds towards gender lens investing and SPF's Asia Women Impact Fund (AWIF) initiative, which focuses on access to capital, improved employment and income opportunities, and gender equality in the workplace.
The research methodology was presented by Ms. Ek Sopheara from BDtruS, who detailed the data collection methods, sample size, and target areas of the study. She highlighted the study's timeline and reiterated the goals outlined by Ms. Ito.
Mr. La Woon Yan, Investment Manager for Emerging Markets Entrepreneurs (EME), shared insights into how his organization defined GLI, based on ownership, employment, and supply chain/customer criteria. He discussed EME's approach to gender diversity and the emphasis on including women in their programs at every stage, from application to funding. Mr. Yan emphasized the need for leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs and the positive performance of women-led businesses in their programs.
The participants were then divided into four groups, a) development Partners (DPs) and international NGOs (INGOs); b) investors and financial institutions; c) Entrepreneurship Supporting Organizations (ESOs); and, d) enterprises. Each group discussed various questions related to GLI and its challenges and opportunities.
Strategies to enhance the market's appeal from a gender lens perspective included adopting the 2x challenge criteria as criteria for gender lens investing and continuous data tracking on GLI. Challenges in developing a GLI pipeline were also identified, such as the difficulty in finding women-owned or women-led businesses, the prevalence of family businesses without clear management differentiation, and the general lack of investment readiness among enterprises.
The workshop was attended by more than 60 participants from various sectors, including government agencies, development partners (DPs), international NGOs (INGOs), enterprises, investment funds/firms, and Entrepreneurship Supporting Organizations (ESOs). The consultative workshop provided a platform for in-depth discussions on Gender Lens Investing, and the insights gained will play a crucial role in shaping the GLI landscape in Cambodia, fostering a more inclusive and equitable business environment. The primary finding of GLI landscape study in Cambodia will be presented at Cambodia’s Ecosystem Strengthening Conference 2023 (CAMESCO23) on 08 December 2023.The Gender Lens Investment Landscaping Study will be published in early 2024.
The Enhancing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and Investments (3Ei) is a five-year initiative (2023 – 2027) implemented by Khmer Enterprise and Swisscontact and co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and Ministry of Economy and Finance (Khmer Enterprise). The initiative works closely with the entrepreneurial ecosystem actors in Cambodia to strengthen Cambodia's socio-economic development. The overall goal of the 3Ei is for the private sector to actively contribute to the Cambodia's socio-economic development and attaining the goals of the SDGs.