‘Small Package Exporter Champions (SPEC)’ Program launched in Cambodia

The Improving Small Package e-Trade for SMEs (SeT4SME) project of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation and implementing partner Swisscontact embarks on the Small Package Exporter Champions (SPEC), an exciting new pilot program to train & showcase Cambodia’s top exporting SMEs.

On 28th June 2022, the ‘Small Package Exporter Champions (SPEC)’ Program, initiated under the Workstream 2: e-Trade Portal Development and Promotion of the SeT4SME Project was launched by Swisscontact in collaboration with Khmer Enterprise, European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia and the Cambodian Women Entrepreneurs Association. The event saw 77 attendants representing 33 SMEs, and 10 potential mentors.

The SPEC program aims to help Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Women Owned Businesses (WOBs) looking to ship small package consignment internationally and drive their export growth. The program aims to establish a certificate system for small package exporter champions (SPEC) among MSMEs.

"I convey my warm appreciation to the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation and all relevant stakeholders to contribute to this program. Swisscontact is an important partner for the Ministry of Commerce…From the perspective of Ministry of Commerce, todays launch of SPEC program is considered as another important initiative from the government and the private sector to promote trade facilitation and increase the export of small packages.” "
HE Sam Heng Bora, Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of Commerce

As an initiator of the program under SeT4SME Project, Swisscontact will carry out the piloting of the SPEC program, however, it will be implemented under the co-financing of Swisscontact and Khmer Enterprise, in partnership with EuroCham Cambodia and Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA). The implementation consists of 3 phases. 

  1. Phase 1 consists of two workshops for invited SPEC candidates. The 1st workshop will be an introduction and networking event, while the 2nd workshop will be a training event. MSMEs who fulfill the qualifications after the workshop against the set criteria will be Silver SPEC Certified.
  2. Phase 2 of the program consists of mentoring support to the silver SPEC certified MSMEs for three months. MSMEs who attain success during the mentorship period against certain selectivity criteria (for example, successful exports to certain markets during the 3-month mentorship etc.) shall be presented with Gold SPEC Certificate. This phase also features a pitch and prizing, whereby there will be an awards ceremony for successful graduates to pitch and showcase their export successes. Gold SPEC MSMEs will give a 5-minute presentation, and there will be cash prizes for the top 3 ($1,500, $1,000, $500 respectively).
  3. Finally, Phase 3 will be a strategic planning workshop that will include an orientation of the certification system to interested MSMEs and other market actors.
"SMEs that join this program will be able to gain substantial knowledge of rules and procedures as well as the practicalities of exporting small packages to their target destinations. We hope the piloting that we are doing on SPEC is proven and SPEC continues as a key program for small package exports in Cambodia and provides the inspiration to upcoming entrepreneurs"
Mr. Rajiv Pradhan, Country Director Swisscontact, Cambodia

The workshop included a very interesting panel discussion that was moderated by Mr. Thomas Hesketh, Deputy Director of Eurocham. The panelists’ included Ms. Has Doungleakhana, Deputy Director General of Cambodia Post, Mrs. Bunnak Norm, Director of Villageworks, Ms. Monika Nowaczyk, BeeBee & Bongo, Cambodia Knits, Exporting SME / Potential Mentor, Mr. Sven Callebaut, International Trade Advisor, MoC, Director, TradeWorthy Ltd and Mr. Kha SOK, Workstream Leader of SeT4SME where they delved into the pressing capacity gaps for SMEs, the competitiveness, practical experiences on small package exports etc. 

The event concluded with a group discussion on various topics including SME Export Challenges, Small Package Export Use Cases/Challenges and Opportunities, Ideal Mentor and Mentor Qualities for Export Promotion and Topics for Trainings to Improve Capacity. The results from these discussions will be incorporated into the agenda of the training workshop that will be organized in July/August.

"EuroCham is excited to be part of this new, novel program to promote exports from Cambodia, we hope this pilot sows the seeds for a successful initiative for many years to come."
Mr. Tom Hesketh, Deputy Director of Eurocham

Through the SPEC program, the project expects to establish at least 10 Silver SPEC certified MSMEs and 5 Gold SPEC certified MSMEs. Following the pilot, an annual event for SPEC interested MSMEs is being planned, along with the development of ‘training tool kits’ for future capacity support to exporting MSMEs.

"Kudos to the team at Swisscontact Cambodia and EuroCham Cambodia for a timely and well attended event. Cross-border e-commerce is the new frontier for Cambodian MSMES and shipping, logistics, compliance are the top issues they face, so SPEC will be their SPARK! "
 Mr. Sven Callebaut, Trade and Digital Trade Advisor of Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia

SPEC launching workshop was covered by the following media:

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.