Give a Day 22: Nurturing Diversity in Cambodia’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Phnom Penh - On May 29, 2024, the 22nd “Give a Day” event was held at the Khmer Enterprise Office, aiming to foster diversity within Cambodia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. This event has become an integral part of Cambodia’s entrepreneurial community, providing valuable insights and fostering connections among Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs).

The key objectives for this event included sharing insights from program implementers across diverse sectors, identifying gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, developing a more inclusive support network, and encouraging collaboration among ESOs to strengthen the support network’s connectivity and coverage. The event aimed to create a more robust and inclusive ecosystem that supports the diverse needs of entrepreneurs across Cambodia.

The panel discussion featured prominent figures from Cambodia's entrepreneurial landscape, including Mr. Vanna Sy, Senior Manager of HR Development Department at CJCC, Mr. Songhour Thav, Entrepreneurship Support Lead at Impact Hub Phnom Penh, and Ms. Keisha Gani, SHE Program Director at iDE Cambodia. They shared valuable experiences and insights, focusing on the programs they oversee for specific target entrepreneurs.

During the discussion, challenges specific to certain demographics, such as female entrepreneurs and youth, were highlighted. It was noted that female entrepreneurs face unique obstacles, including limited access to funding and mentorship. The importance of providing tailored support and resources to address these challenges was underscored.

"Challenges for women entrepreneurs is high especially for women with disability, single parents etc. Challenges in aligning household work of women entrepreneurs with businesses is also high. So, SHE tries to find time around their household work to provide support."
Said Ms. Keisha Gani, SHE Program Director at iDE Cambodia.

 Additionally, there was an emphasis on the significance of soft skills development for entrepreneurs. The discussion emphasized the need for holistic development to ensure that entrepreneurs are well-rounded and prepared to tackle a variety of challenges. While technical skills were recognized as crucial, developing a business mindset and financial literacy were also highlighted as equally essential aspects of entrepreneurial success.

The group discussion delved into the challenges of customizing support programs to meet specific needs, highlighting the importance of understanding data related to geographic areas and demographics. It was noted that insights necessary for effectively tailoring programs are often lacking, necessitating more expensive and contextualized data collection methods. The discussion concluded with a call for greater partnership and collaboration within the ecosystem, emphasizing the importance of trust-based partnerships. Businesses were encouraged to consider their social and environmental impacts to drive sustainable development.

The "Give a Day" event, by facilitating these discussions, is paving the way for more tailored, inclusive, and effective support programs for entrepreneurs across Cambodia. By addressing identified challenges and implementing shared best practices, stakeholders can build a more cohesive and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The Give a Day event is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and Khmer Enterprise. 

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.