Khmer Enterprise, OBOR and five leading financial institutions in the Kingdom (ABA Bank, AMK, Wing Bank, SME Bank and ACLEDA Bank) gathered on January 28, 2022 to mark the start of Cambodia’s SME Investment Readiness Program (SME IR Program), that focuses on finding and upscaling mature SMEs in the country, so they can effectively raise capital.
As a unit under the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Khmer Enterprise provides support to startups and SMEs with the aim to build a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Cambodia. In particular, access to finance for businesses is one of the prioritised pillars in our support programs and this SME Investment Readiness Program serves to realise that objective.
H.E Dr. Chhieng Vanmunin, CEO of Khmer Enterprise stated that, “Sponsorship from the banking institutions in this program demonstrates the endeavour of different stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to enhance access to finance for startups and SMEs. Khmer Enterprise is pleased to be the platform to engage in such an effort.”
Mr. Kea Borann, Chief Executive Officer at AMK, commented, “AMK is proud to support the growth of SMEs in Cambodia through this great initiative in addition to our wide range of financial services that we offer to SMEs in Cambodia.”
Since applications for the program opened in December 2021, SMEs from all over Cambodia have made applications to join. The SME IR Program outdid expectations and received over 70 applications, for just 25 spots. Most of the SMEs applied needed to meet the criteria of doing over $100k in annual revenue so as to classify them as a mature SME, that may have the possibility of raising capital and taking their business to the next stage.
Mr. Igor Zimarev, Chief Marketing Officer at ABA Bank, commented, “Access to financial know-how is important for the sustainable growth of SMEs and startups. ABA is pleased to contribute to Khmer Enterprise which implements the program with OBOR to create opportunities and help SMEs, startups and entrepreneurs advance and thrive. Through this sponsorship, ABA continues to demonstrate its commitment to support the development of the SME sector in Cambodia, which is a vital component of the country’s long-term economic growth”.
“SMEs play an integral role in contributing to the economic growth of Cambodia. They create jobs for the community, support larger companies, and sort out the problems in the communities using their products and services. Investing in SMEs is supporting the growth of the community,” said Mr. Han Peng Kwang, CEO of Wing Bank. “I believe that this SME Investment Readiness Program will enrich the participating SMEs with the necessary knowledge to drive their business to greater success.”
The SME IR Program will begin its training in early February for 25 SMEs, consisting of 20-25 hours of workshops on investor requirements, business project and financial management, after which the top 5 SMEs will proceed to the second round, where there will be intensive 1-on-1 financial consulting that helps the top SMEs that are intent on raising capital, achieve this. Alongside any capital raised, their is a $15k prize money made possible by the contributions of ABA, AMK, Wing Bank and SME Bank.
Mr. Lim Aun, Chief Executive Officer at SME Bank of Cambodia, commented “SME Bank is pleased to be supporting the KE & OBOR SME Investment Readiness program, the first of its kind in Cambodia, that will focus on making SMEs better prepared to receiving funding from financial partners, in order to grow their businesses further.”
OBOR, one of the leading SME investors in Cambodia that has been investing and growing SMEs since 2013, is the implementer of the program, positioning this program as a springboard further into its aspirations for becoming the leading sector agnostic SME investor in Cambodia, concentrating on essential sectors such as waste management, water utilities, energy and agriculture.
Mr. Shivam Tripathi, Executive Director at OBOR, noted, “SME financing is a big challenge in Cambodia. We are very excited to be working with Khmer Enterprise to bring more SMEs to an investment ready stage. With this program, we will aim to create a template which can then be used to make even more SMEs investment ready.”