A $500,000 investment will go towards 125 small and medium sized businesses set to gain grants and training in online commerce according to a joint press release by the Ministry of Commerce of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
The funds will cover a six-month incubation and training initiative and small grants programme to help small and medium sized enterprises move online, sell online, and, for some, to sell to overseas customers through a new online marketplace (B2B2C) being developed by the Ministry of Commerce (MoC).
A quota is being reserved for businesses owned by women and businesses based outside of Phnom Penh. It was not disclosed how businesses would be selected for funding nor if they needed to be formally registered.
The programme is a joint initiative by the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) and UNDP and will form one of the key components of Cambodia’s e-commerce acceleration project (Go4eCam) which aims to boost domestic and international opportunities for small and medium enterprises through a digital platform. Creating over 10,000 new jobs by 2022 is one of the main objectives of Go4eCAM.
Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce, at the launch of the E-commerce Strategy said: “The Go4eCAM project is launching at the right time, coinciding with the approval of the e-commerce law and the launch of the E-commerce Strategy. The project will provide many other benefits, including increasing productivity, innovation, business expansion and job creation in Cambodia.”
Nick Beresford, UNDP Cambodian Resident Representative said: “Cambodia’s new e-commerce strategy, combined with the right incentives and investments, could be a game-changer to propel inclusive growth in the recovery from COVID-19. Inclusive investment in people, in skills development and in digital infrastructure for everyone are absolutely crucial.”
The Royal Government of Cambodia, particularly the Ministry of Commerce, has stepped up efforts in recent years to strengthen the country’s e-commerce ecosystem including regulatory framework and strategy, such as passing the landmark 2019 E-commerce Law, a set of sub-decrees to ease registration for e-commerce-based businesses, the Consumer Protection Law to protect the rights of online shoppers and businesses and the recently launched E-commerce Strategy.
Cambodia’s e-commerce sector has grown exponentially in the last decade and the enhanced support comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many more businesses to move online. E-commerce and digitization are seen as crucial to ensure a full, rapid and sustained economic recovery for the country.
The UNDP is also working to reskill workers, support the onboarding of 1000 small and medium sized business into the e-commerce market and promote the adoption of e-commerce across the country through an advocacy campaign to create a robust regulatory environment with support from the Government of Australia.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.