UNDP to identify impact-driven and investment-ready enterprises operating in climate change adaptation in Cambodia

February 8, 2024

As a country highly vulnerable to climate change, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) is committed to driving the transition to a low carbon economy that is more inclusive and sustainable, as part of its long-term development vision. In this context, the Royal Government of Cambodia produced an ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) showcasing its progress in climate policy and setting up mitigation targets and adaptation actions responding to its national circumstances. 

In the private sector, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in Cambodia's economy. According to the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MISTI), SMEs represent up to 70 percent of employment and 99.8 percent of enterprises, while contributing to 58 percent of the GDP[1]. However, these SMEs face challenges such as limited access to finance, skill gaps, low productivity, and weak governance. On the financing side, there are limited investments in sectors like agriculture, education, energy, and information and communications technology[2]. Very few deals with considerably smaller ticket size went to agriculture, education, energy, or technology and communication. It is argued that the size of impact investment in other sectors than finance could be as low as USD 30 million to USD 50 million between 2017 and 2020, often with small ticket size.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital to restore and attract more and quality investment to support Cambodia’s recovery and long-term sustainable development – including climate mitigation and adaptation. 

The Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) programme

Developed by UNDP, the Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) programme seeks to identify enterprises from developing countries that have developed at-scale products and services that contribute to the SDGs while achieving commercial success. Identified ventures have a proven impact, demonstrated product-market fit, and a revenue-generating self-sustainable model to attract local and international capital. 

In September 2023, building on the UNDP Cambodia SDG Investor Map and the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), UNDP Cambodia and UNDP Geneva launched the Growth Stage Impact Ventures program for Climate Adaptation in Cambodia, in collaboration with the UNDP SDG Impact, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Cambodia Ministry of Commerce.

The ultimate objective of the programme is to promote the development of the private sector in Cambodia by identifying investment-ready enterprises around Climate Adaption and aligned to the Investment Opportunity Areas (IOAs). Developing a pipeline of impactful and investable ventures will, in-turn, reduce pre-investment costs for investors. It will also contribute to close the access of finance gap for SMEs and consequently increase private sector resource mobilisation while aligning to the SDGs and Climate Adaptation.  

Results of the Cambodia GSIV for Climate Adaptation “Call for Submission”

Enterprises have been identified through an open Call for Submissions, inviting third-party nominators but also enterprises to put forward their submissions. UNDP would like to thank the third-party organizations that participated to the call for sharing their pipelines and thus demonstrating their commitment to advance the development of the private sector in Cambodia. 

The logos above represent those nominators who agreed to be published on UNDP website. UNDP is not engaged in any formal or informal partnership with the organizations above, and logos are reported for information value only.


Out of the 25 submissions received, 17 enterprises are eligible according to the Cambodia GSIV criteria. Almost all the ventures reported that at least 75% of their company employees are based in Cambodia, contributing to local employment, social development, and poverty reduction. Some ventures also have other offices located around the world, such as in Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia, Spain, Belgium and France. Within Cambodia, all the ventures are headquartered in Phnom Penh and Kampot.

The Cambodia GSIV mainly targets Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs); 65% of the ventures have between 11 and 50 employees. On the financial side, 57% of the ventures reported an annual revenue between US$ 20 000 and US$ 500 000. Two third of the enterprises have already raised at least one investment round, with investment tickets ranging from US$ 10 000 to US$ 3 000 000. These trends overall, suggests that there are several well-established and profitable enterprises in the ecosystem, as well as numerous more recently established companies which are looking to scale their activities and impacts.

In line with the Cambodia GSIV focus on Climate Adaptation, enterprises are active in four out of the six sectors of the Cambodia SDG Investor Map 

The SDG Investor Map is a market intelligence tool produced by UNDP Country Offices to help private investors identify Investment Opportunities Areas (IOAs) and business models that advance the SDGs. The Cambodia SDG Investor Map identified 15 Investment Opportunity Areas that cover business models across six SDG priority sectors, namely, agriculture and allied industries, financial services, infrastructure, renewable energy, education, and healthcare. The map translates SDG needs and policy priorities into actionable investment opportunities, using an established methodology which combines secondary data research with interviews and discussions with public and private sector stakeholders.

UNDP assigned a sector to each venture in line with the six sectors of the Cambodia SDG Investor Map. The sectors most represented in the pool of received submissions are Food & beverage and Renewable Resources & Alternative Energy and Services. UNDP has also tentatively assigned to each venture, a subsector as well as an Investment Opportunity Area (IOA). While this process is still at its initial stages, it is already clear that there are several enterprises aligned with the IOAs of Solar Photovoltaic System (32%), Agro-industrial Processing Facilities for Food Fortification (22%) and Agriculture Solutions to Improve Farm Productivity (18%). 



Moving forward, what’s next ?

After a rigorous evaluation process, 10 shortlisted ventures - covering the Food & Beverage, Renewable Resources & Alternative Energy and Infrastructure, Green Construction & Building sectors in the Cambodia SDG Investor Map - will be evaluated by a Selection Panel composed of technical experts, financial and private sector experts, academics and development practitioners. 

The selected finalists will benefit from capacity development and exposure to UNDP domestic and global partners. 


[2] UNDP (2022). Cambodia SDG Investor Map: Investment Opportunity Areas report.