Khmer Enterprise, Oxfam and Platform Impact Partner to Support the Impact-Driven Entrepreneurship and Responsible Financing Activities in Cambodia

From left: Ms. Sophoan Phea, National Director of Oxfam, H.E. Dr. Vanmunin Chhieng, CEO of Khmer Enterprise and Mr. David Van, Director of Public-Private Partnership of Platform Impact. Photo: Khmer Enterprise

Khmer Enterprise, Oxfam and Platform Impact have entered into a partnership to accelerate, boost and scale up the Impact-Driven Entrepreneurship and Responsible Financing activities in Cambodia through the implementation of the “Program Impact-Driven SME (PRISME)”.

PRISME is a new, innovative and best-in-class Entrepreneurship Program aiming to build, develop and empower Impact-Driven Enterprises – hybrid organizations blending business with mission and combining an unwavering focus on meeting societal needs with entrepreneurial energy and market discipline to prove that making a profit and having positive impacts on society are not mutually exclusive ideas. They are inclusive, environmentally sensitive and use the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for decision making and actions.

The tripartite Memorandum of Understand (MoU) on the cooperation was signed on December 15, 2021 by H.E. Dr. Vanmunin Chhieng, CEO of Khmer Enterprise, Ms. Sophoan Phean, National Director of Oxfam and Mr. David Van, Director of Public-Private Partnership of Platform Impact.

Ms. Sophoan Phean, National Director of Oxfam said, “Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have played a significant role in boosting Cambodia's economic growth by providing employment and generating income for low-income people, as well as in delivering impacts on society and environment. However, SMEs are facing various challenges, and require supports both technical and financial support to develop and reach their potential”.

“Oxfam strongly believes that increasing positive impacts of the enterprise is essential for the country to alleviate poverty while reducing ecological footprint, and that requires concerted efforts. Collaborating with the public and private sector is​ a strategic approach to address economic, societal and environmental challenges in Cambodia for we are able to leverage resources, complement and fill the gaps in responding to development challenges, for an inclusive outcome that serves collective interests of all while protecting our planet,” Ms. Phean added.

Khmer Enterprise and Oxfam will co-fund and support the implementation of PRISME over the course of three years from 2021-2024, whereas Platform Impact partnering with Cambodia Investor Club will design and implement strategic, technical and logistic plans to offer high quality supports to entrepreneurs to set up and launch their Impact-Driven Enterprises in Cambodia.

H.E. Dr. Vanmunin Chhieng, CEO of Khmer Enterprise said, “SMEs are the catalyst to move Cambodian’s economy forward in this new competitive market. This program will not just enhance the participating SMEs through various skills training and operating developments but also scaling their businesses to the next level through capital investments and getting the benefit from local/regional networks. The partnership program shows the commitment from relevant stakeholders from public, private and developing partners in supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem to boost, accelerate and maximize the return to the Cambodian economy.”

PRISME offers two-fold services to Impact-Driven Enterprises including hands-on venture building support to develop a growth strategy and build business linkages relevant for their business to grow and fundraising support to raise the patient capital they need to scale their operations and positive impacts in Cambodia. PRISME also aims to develop policy, regulatory and legal frameworks enabling the emergence of a solid ecosystem accelerating the growth of Impact-Driven Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Cambodia.

Mr. David Van, Director Public-Private Partnership of Platform Impact said, “Cambodian SMEs are facing a challenging environment the way forward and must carve themselves a niche to thrive further in expanding their markets and products or services-based activities. As much as tying up the Garment industry to Ethical Labor Standard 3 decades ago, has continued to serve the industry well, local enterprises must strive to incorporate inclusive business model in their commercial activities. PRISME aims to enhance local SMEs’ competitiveness in value chain linkages, better access to markets and to finance, commercial efficiency as well as encapsulating the ESG component. This would put Cambodia on the map of ESG eco-system in the foreseeable future.”

PRISME is going to roll out its support for the first cohort of Impact-Driven Enterprises in January. This innovative program is now finalizing the list of ten local enterprises to join the cohort, each of which will receive one-year support by working closely with the assigned venture builder team from the inclusive business planning concept till the investment readiness and closing stage. Candidate enterprises are multi-sectoral from healthcare to agribusiness to waste management for instance.

Group photos with team from the three institutions after the signing event. Photo: Khmer Enterprise