PrISME Kick-Off Workshop where we took the opportunity to launch the Superstar Impact Business Competition focusing on women and youth empowerment, 27 April 2022. Photo: Cambodia Investors Club

Oxfam Accelerating Impacts of Enterprises on Women and Youths Through the Superstar Impact Business Competition

Oxfam has been working in Cambodia about four decades ago with a strong commitment to empower Cambodians, especially women and youths. Through Oxfam’s “Inclusive and Green Economy Model”, we have worked to accelerate gender equality and strengthen women’s position in decision making, leadership and entrepreneurship. In contribution to the said mission, we have recently launched the Superstar Impact Business Competition to support private sector companies in Cambodia to scale up their positive impacts.

Ms. Sophoan Phean, National Director of Oxfam said, “As part of Oxfam’s work to promote youths and women economic empowerment, we are excited to bring the Superstar Competition to Cambodia to create opportunity for impact businesses to scale. Youth unemployment and income inequality for women and girls are one of the rising global challenges, and we believe that private sector is a key actor to help address these. This initiative could help support impact-driven businesses to increase voice and representation of women and youths in leadership, workforce, value chains, consumers and communities, which is key to bring about gender diversity and equality.”

What is the Superstar Impact Business Competition (SIBC)?

The SIBC is the Oxfam’s global initiative, created to accelerate impact, understand needs of impact businesses and promote examples of ‘Superstars’. This year, the competition has been implemented in 6 countries, including Somaliland, Egypt, Uganda, Nigeria, Cambodia, and Bolivia, with a focus on supporting business ideas that empower women and youths. In Cambodia, Oxfam integrates the SIBC into the newly introduced Program Impact-Driven SME (PrISME), a joint partnership with Oxfam, Khmer Enterprise, Platform Impact, and Cambodia Investors Club to provide top-class advisory for business owners to scale impact businesses in Cambodia. Only enterprises participating in the PrISME are eligible to participate in the competition. The ‘Superstar’ winners will receive matching grants of up to €15K, plus a technical assistance to support their implementation of the impact-focused innovation to further empower women and youths.

Hassan Hajam, Executive Director of Platform Impact​ said: “Oxfam’s Superstar Competition brings a significant value-add to the growth of Impact-Driven Enterprises in Cambodia: The financial supports granted by the initiative pragmatically help the Entrepreneurs to pilot, test, adapt and validate innovative country-specific strategies for effectively contributing to youth and women empowerment in self-sustaining ways.”

How does the process look like?

After its launching on April 27th, 2022 we have assigned our Impact Venture Builders (VBs) to advise and support the interested Cohort members throughout the application process. The aspect of ‘sustainability’ has been our core consideration when we advise businesses to propose ideas that only align with their long-term growth strategy, rather than a one-off activity. Each SME has one-month period to work on their business idea, and finally to submit their application via the VC4A Platform. The application just ended on 31st May 2022, and we have received seven applications from entrepreneurs in various sectors ranging from agriculture, education, healthcare, housing, sports and water.

What’s next?

All applicants are invited to pitch their business idea on July 9th, 2022. They are now preparing their pitching materials with the guidance and training by their assigned VBs on what and how to pitch. The pitching will be assessed against four main criteria including 1) Social/Environmental impact of business 2) Feasibility and relevance of proposal 3) Strength of team/entrepreneur and 4) Growth potential of Business. The judging panel consists of respected individuals who have an extensive background in investment, finance, banking, etc. Results will be released shortly after. Winners will then be contacted to align with deliverables and sign contracts to execute their project until the end of 2022 with a closed support and monitoring.