The e-portal readiness factor assessment adopted a pragmatic approach in looking at the drivers of success for implementing and operating the e-trade portal. An assessment tool was then developed to include different important aspects such as vision, desire and willingness, strategic plan and partners, collaboration with government, sponsorship and leadership, governance, funding, IT capacity to execute the portal and existing IT adoption, etc.
The Readiness Assessment tool examined:
The preliminary findings from the assessment indicate the following:
The assessment pinpointed three critical areas that need to be addressed. These include the readiness of MSMEs, the need for a dedicated export strategy, and the long-term sustainability of the e-trade portal.
To address MSME readiness and get them export-ready, the project is initiating the ‘Small Package Exporter Champions (SPEC)’ Program. The SPEC program will commence in April 2022 and involve a series of awareness training workshops conducted in collaboration with CWEA, Khmer Enterprise and the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) in Cambodia. This program includes two training workshops for the selected MSMEs and a tailor-made, one-on-one mentorship program for three months, followed by certification for MSME champions. In addition, a training toolkit that can be used for future orientation to MSMEs on cross-border e-trade and capacity support programs will also be developed.
Another important finding was the need to address the sustainability concern around the operation of the e-trade portal. As a result, the project plans to work with CWEA to develop a promotional strategy for the portal to promote its local products to international markets and Cambodians living abroad through Cambodian embassies, other interested businesses associations, trade missions, and international expos.
Lastly, in addressing the need for a dedicated export strategy for Cambodian products through small parcels, one of the recommendations was for CWEA to set up a working group/think-tank in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce. The working group would provide support in identifying products that have potential in e-commerce and the key markets, potential challenges, and the niche and potential partners.
The e-trade portal solution aims to help MSMEs and Women Owned Businesses by streamlining cross-border e-commerce and hosting an online store allowing Cambodian MSMEs to sell their products in international markets. Through findings and recommendations from the e-portal readiness factor assessment, the project aims to work with the project partners to address the systemic challenges identified. For example, one of the most significant systemic challenges identified was getting MSMEs export ready. Therefore, the SPEC program will play an essential role in determining MSME export champions and, through them, build the capacity of MSMEs and WOBs in Cambodia to be export ready.
Improving Small Package E-Trade for SMEs (SeT4SME) is a two-year project (2021-2023) of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, implemented by Swisscontact in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and with the collaboration of General Department of Customs and Excise, Cambodia Post, Universal Postal Union, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association.