Unlocking Business Innovation: Success Stories from Resilient Entrepreneurs 

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
The 16th edition of Give a Day took place on September 9th, 2023, with a focus on the theme "Unlocking Business Innovation: Success Stories from Resilient Entrepreneurs." The event was attended by 42 participants. 

This event followed the successful 15th Give a Day held in Siem Reap, the first of its kind in the province, which shed light on the challenges faced by businesses amid the ongoing recovery of the tourism industry. It became clear that there was a demand for practical lessons and experiences from entrepreneurs. Consequently, the 16th Give a Day was organized to address these needs. 

Therefore, Give a Day 16 aimed to provide valuable insights and lessons learned from resilient entrepreneurs who have demonstrated innovation, adaptability, and resilience in overcoming business challenges. Moreover, the event sought to underline the critical need for businesses to innovate and transform in order to not only survive but thrive in challenging times. Additionally, it provided a platform for businesses to voice their own questions and challenges, fostering a culture of open discussion. Lastly, the event emphasized the importance of networking, facilitating connections among entrepreneurs and support organizations in Siem Reap. 

The event commenced with Lima Lim, the founder and CEO of LimLima Khmer Angkor Food Co., Ltd., sharing her experiences on "Innovating to thrive your business: Product/business model transformation." Lima Lim candidly discussed the export challenges she faced, including the extensive documentation required and the need for standardization, particularly on a country-specific basis. Despite high demand for her products, Lima emphasized the investment of both time and financial resources necessary for product development. She stressed that financial resources must cover main ingredients, packaging, and operational costs. 

Following Lima Lim's insightful presentation, Nhim Sorida, Co-founder and CEO at Boran Care Asia Co., Ltd., delved into her experiences with business innovation. She highlighted the meticulous preparations her products underwent before re-entering the market, with a special focus on aspects like Trademark and Health Certifications. Nhim Sorida's journey also showcased the resilience and determination required in navigating challenges, especially during the disruptive period of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The event culminated in a panel discussion titled "How to transform and adapt your business to thrive in a difficult time?" The panel featured the two speakers, Lima Lim and Nhim Sorida, as well as Helene Veal, co-founder of Enterprise Vision. The panel discussion sparked engaging conversations and the exchange of invaluable insights. 

One key question addressed the initial challenges faced when starting a business. Nhim Sorida shared her personal journey, revealing that she grappled with psychological hardship at the outset, coming from a family of teachers, and never envisioning herself as an entrepreneur. However, her self-discovery and passion eventually led her to take the plunge. Lima Lim, on the other hand, shed light on the emotional burden of restarting a business after a failure. She emphasized the importance of commitment and finding a supportive environment. Helene Veal underscored the wisdom in seeking help from friends and family during challenging times. 

Another question explored the genesis of their respective businesses. Lima Lim shared her inspiration, recounting how she was influenced by a Japanese company's liquor production, leading her to start her own distillery and subsequently venture into processing other beverages and food products. 

The discussion also delved into dealing with negative energy and staying motivated in the entrepreneurial journey. Nhim Sorida's response highlighted her personal growth from not valuing herself and succumbing to external expectations to focusing on self-healing and rediscovering her passion for her business. Furthermore, Lima Lim shared insights about expanding her business, indicating that she was actively seeking partnerships and investors, with support from key actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Participants in the discussion also inquired about how to identify business priorities and focus areas. Nhim Sorida advised aspiring entrepreneurs to assess their commitment level—whether they intend to fully immerse themselves in the business or simply explore. This decision, she stressed, should guide the registration of the business and the acquisition of necessary licenses, all while strategically allocating available resources. Helene Veal encouraged entrepreneurs to seek support and engage with incubators, accelerators, or Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs) to harness these opportunities. 

Lastly, the discussion touched upon future plans and innovations for the speakers' businesses. Lima Lim revealed that LM was branching out into the skincare sector with LM Skin Lab, focusing on products centered around coconut ingredients. 

Give a Day in Siem Reap and the ongoing events in Phnom Penh are poised to play a pivotal role in strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem across Cambodia. By fostering collaboration, trust, and knowledge exchange, Give a Day continues to empower ESOs and contribute to the overall growth and success of startups and entrepreneurs in the country.

The event was covered by the following media: 

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Enhancing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and Investments (3Ei)
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 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The achievement of this overall goal will be driven by two outcomes: enhanced coordination, and collaboration within the entrepreneurial ecosystem; and increased business performance and investments in the ecosystem.