Government-financed Khmer Enterprise, a national platform for promoting entrepreneurial activities, and HEKS Cambodia, which aims to promote sustainable rural development, is funding a project to help small and medium agriculture enterprises to develop. The project is led by Impact Hub, a group that empowers startup businesses and aims to assist agri-businesses to improve.
The DakDam Incubator Season 2 is a nine-month agriculture incubation programme that invests and supports early-stage entrepreneurs pursuing innovative solutions that have the potential to benefit the agricultural sector across Cambodia. The project will start on Sept 18.
Agriculture plays a vital role in driving economic, social, and environmental development in Cambodia. About 65 percent of Cambodians depend on agriculture, fisheries and forestry. The agriculture sector is feeding the country but there is still potential for further growth. The DakDam team believes that investing in sustainable agriculture will pave the way to creating a flourishing country.
The pandemic is still very prominent, putting the tourism sector on hold. The Kingdom has no choice but to rely more on its remaining active industries, especially its largest sectors such as agriculture, construction and garments. The DakDam team believes the Kingdom needs to shift focus to agriculture and push this industry further.
The difference between the first and the second season is pure volume. The first season yielded results exceeding expectations, with two of the participants having multiplied their production capacity by 10 when the programme ended. They hope the additional support will allow the DakDam team to reproduce the results from the first programme. Season 2 will include 15 teams in the pre-incubation stage compared with the last Season’s 10 teams. In addition, there are eight teams at the incubation stage compared with the prior six.
The DakDam programme is divided into two parts, a pre-incubation programme and an incubation programme.
During the pre-incubation programme, 15 teams will be selected to be mentored, clarifying their plans for the future and identifying their needs and gaps in their current way of operating. They will be matched with a mentor pool, members of which will provide them with insights, networks and advice.
Lyhour Heang, a programme manager of DakDam Incubator Season 2, from Impact Hub Phnom Penh, said: “We have received 52 applications, which shows the big interest from local SMEs [small and medium enterprises] to get this kind of support.”
At the Pitch Day, in mid-November this year, eight out of the 15 teams will be shortlisted to move to the next stage, where they would receive in-depth mentoring, especially from a finance expert, leadership expert and business expert. They will be working toward strengthening their operations and setting up the foundation to scale-up their business. Using a $5,000 prototyping fund, they will receive at the start of the project, they will be able to invest in new machinery, in developing new products or in hiring new staff to improve production capacity.
Field trips will be organised in the province to scout potential business development opportunities and to bond together. Beyond these training sessions, the teams must collaborate, learn and help each other and finally build long-lasting relationships on which they can rely when they face problems in the future.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.