Relevant ministries and private sectors are joining up to form another tool, the Small and Medium Enterprise Fund “SME fund” to promote local SMEs to help Cambodia overcome economic stagnation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Interior, Sar Kheng, who is the honourable president of the fund, which includes the Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation (MISTI), Cham Prasidh and dozens of Oknha who all have a role in shaping the country’s economy.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng said that having the fund will provide an important support mechanism to SMEs across the country. “SMEs are the backbone of economic development and we have learnt the model from developed countries the significant advantages of promoting SMEs development to help economic growth and employment creation,” he said.
Te Taingpor, president of the Federation of Associations of Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia (FASMEC) and, who is also a member of the Board of Directors of the fund said that the fund, named “Samdech Techo Fund for the development of SMEs” is to promote local industries to be more productive and competitive.
“We have up to 99.5 percent of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises so we want the rich to help support small businesses. The fund will go a long way in assisting capacity building, workshops and training in various sectors,” he said, adding that the model has been adapted from the US and Thailand where tycoons contribute to help SMEs and start-up entrepreneurs.
Taingpor said three provinces – Pursat, Kandal and Tbong Khmum have all agreed to establish pioneer provincial SME clusters.
He said that FASMEC is currently seeking to establish a small and medium enterprise (SME) Park in each province across the country, aimed at promoting processing of local agricultural products.
He said the association is seeking between 20 to 30 hectares of land in each province for the SME industrial parks and is already in active discussions with seven provinces.
Taingpor said three provinces – Pursat, Kandal and Tbong Khmum have all agreed to establish the pioneer provincial SME clusters.
“I am traveling to all the provinces in the country to hold workshops, raise awareness among entrepreneurs and to gather local producers in one place, so that we are able to process our agricultural produce for export” he said adding that this will help reduce labour migration from provinces to the city as well as neighbouring countries.
Worldbridge Industrial Developments announced in September the establishment of the $30 million Worldbridge SME (small and medium enterprise) cluster in Takhmao city, Kandal province. This cluster is seen as an innovative and strategic solution for SMEs for revolutionising industrial development in Cambodia.
Cambodia currently has lagged behind in agro processing and the country sends most of its produces to neighbouring countries to be processed, repacked and exported under their own label, thus depriving Cambodia of its right to Certificate of Origin since once repacked, there is no evidence of the produce originating from Cambodia.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) has issued measures in July to solve the current issues faced by SMEs in the country.
The measure focuses on compliance for SMEs regarding checking the possibility of providing support, including business consultants, lawyers, legal consultants, business registration, accounting, marketing and technical aspects. The measures will also support the eco-system of SMEs such as continuing to reform the regulatory framework and its implementation, promoting supporting business services, funding, market accessibility, driving and bolstering human resources and research and development as well as promoting the concept of entrepreneurship skills.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.