Poverty remains pervasive specifically in the rural areas. 77% of Cambodia’s population lives in rural area, and 20% of the rural population (approx. 2.5 million people) is living below the national poverty line. Some other social and environmental challenges that the nation face include lack of access to safe water, food insecurity, malnutrition, deforestation, improper waste management and disposal and limited access to electricity.
I-SME aims to leverage the potential of SMEs to tackle these broader societal and environmental problems in Cambodia. SMEs are a vital driver to economic growth for Cambodia, accounting for 99.8% of companies, 58% of GDP and 70% of jobs creation (MISTI, 2018). They play a significant role in offering innovative and sustainable solutions for local economic development. In order to grow sustainably, SMEs need to overcome issues related to their organizational capacity, access to finance, investment readiness and the overall business ecosystem.
What is Impact Driven Enterprises?
We use the term ‘Impact Driven Enterprises’ (IDE) to refer to new forms of business organizations primarily seeking to maximize benefits for the society and environment. They use the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for decision making and action.
IDE do not aim to maximize profits for their shareholders but strive to tackle societal problems. They do not rely exclusively on donations to cover operational costs. The enterprise draws upon business techniques and approaches to generate the revenue streams needed to achieve financial self-sufficiency.
Most of the financial surplus of an IDE is reinvested for greater positive social and environmental impacts rather than distributed for private financial benefit.
Business Development Services
We dedicate a Team of Venture Builders to shadow IDE at early or growth stage by accompanying and supporting their transform to increase their ESG impact while strengthening their financial bottom line and supporting them to create a lean impact monitoring and measurement strategy. The Program brings a unique channel that directly connects IDE to new technologies or service providers, buyers, regional companies and organizations, and build relevant business linkages.
Access to Finance
We lead the end-to-end process to secure access to the patient capital that IDE need to scale their operations and positive impacts. We directly work from the onset with responsible investors/funds and financial actors to understand due diligence and performance metrics and match those with our IDE portfolio.
Overall Enabling Environment
We work closely with key actors to develop policy, regulatory and legal frameworks enabling the emergence of a solid policy framework and ecosystem strengthening the growth of IDE.
Stakeholders impacted by SMEs:
- Ministry of Economy and Finance through Khmer Enterprise
- Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation
- Gender Transformative & Responsible Business Investment in South East Asia (GRAISEA)
- Fisher Folks Making Circular Economy Work for the Western Tonle Sap Lake (FOSTER)