Gold SPEC (Small Package Exporter Champions) certified SMEs complete mentorship program

The Improving Small Package e-Trade for SMEs (SeT4SME) project of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (the Alliance) and implementing partner Swisscontact along with Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA) and Eurocham, successfully organized a certificate award and prize-giving event to celebrate the achievements of the 15 Small Package Exporter Champions (SPEC) SMEs, 11 of whom are women-owned businesses, for their full engagement with and completion of the SPEC program. 

On 13th September 2022, the ‘Small Package Exporter Champions (SPEC)’ Programme, initiated under the Workstream 2: e-Trade Portal Development and Promotion of the SeT4SME Project hosted a match making event to introduce 12 mentors to the 15 silver certified SPEC members who would receive a 3-month tailored mentorship.

The SPEC is a capacity-building and business networking program for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) looking to ship small package consignments internationally and drive their export growth. The program combines awareness raising, capacity building, expert mentorship, and a certificate system.

"From the perspective of Ministry of Commerce, the SPEC program, is considered as an important initiative to promote trade facilitation and increasing export of small packages. We are glad to see activities led by Swisscontact together with private sector engagement to build export capabilities and provide vital knowledge within the ecosystem of Cambodian SMEs."
H.E. Samheng Bora, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce

As, the mentorship period has now completed, Swisscontact, Khmer Enterprise (KE), and EuroCham in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) and Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA) organized a certificate award and prize-giving event to celebrate the achievements of the 15 SPEC SMEs who have completed the mentorship program and provide them with a platform to showcase their export performance, benefits from the training and mentorship, and future potentials and opportunities for further expanding their small package exports. Qualifying SMEs were also awarded the Gold SPEC Certificate and Cash Prizes by H.E. Samheng Bora, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce, H.E. Dr. Chhieng Vanmunin, CEO (Chief Executive Officer), Khmer Enterprise and Mr. Rajiv Pradhan, Country Director, Swisscontact.

The 15 qualifying SMEs were evaluated on their key learnings from the mentorship, their future potentials, and opportunities for further expanding their small package exports and how they plan to inspire other SMEs. The SMEs were scored by a panel of judges represented by Mr. Hong Bunseng from Ministry of Commerce, H.E. Mam Dathalineth from Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association, Mr. Thomas Hesketh from Eurocham and Mr. Sok Kha from Swisscontact.

"I joined the SPEC program because I was interested to learn more on export regulations and the standard requirement for food products to export to my customers directly. The SPEC program was a particularly good learning platform, especially the experience sharing of mentors. SHE Agrocam is now able to export products oversea directly to customers After learning from SPEC, we plan to expand out small package food shipments to China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam"
Ms. Mao Sothea, Managing Director, SHE Agrocam Co., Ltd.

Among the fifteen qualifying SMEs, SHE Agrocam, Sela Pepper and Taing Eanghout Rice Mill were awarded cash prizes. These three SMEs along with Sokunthea Natural Rice and Agrihouse Co., Ltd. will also get an opportunity to go on a study tour in 2023.

On that note, the program will be continued into 2023 to extend the capacity and network building activities to provincial levels and thus upscaling the positive impacts to a lot more SMEs. Among the planned activities of the new phase of the program in 2023 include multiple national roadshow events across the country, to sensitize the SPEC and facilitate peer exchange and trainings by the champions to other SMEs in the provinces, and a Policy Dialogue Workshop on Boosting Export through Small Package Exports by Cambodia’s SMEs.

Improving Small Package E-Trade for SMEs
Improving Small Package E-Trade for SMEs (SeT4SME) is a two-year project (2021-2023) for the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation. This project aims to support Cambodia in improving its trade performance and driving inclusive growth in the country by enhancing trade facilitation implementation with improved transparency in trade practices and reduced time and cost of cross-border e-trade.