A New Partnership to Enhance Cambodia’s Youth Entrepreneurship and SMEs

May 12, 2020

A group of Cambodia's young startups and mentor team

Phnom Penh, 12 May 2020 – With its current demographic dividend, Cambodia’s youth entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play a significant role in contributing to the country’s economic diversification and sustaining its economic growth. Recognizing this role, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has partnered with various startup support organizations to scale up entrepreneurship training through incubation, acceleration programmes, and a national dialogue to showcase Cambodia’s best startups from across the country.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, UNDP Cambodia and Khmer Enterprise (KE), an implementation unit of the Entrepreneurship Development Fund established by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, today jointly signed a new partnership to promote entrepreneurship training for Cambodia’s young entrepreneurs and to support the development of the SME sector in the country.

This partnership aims specifically to ensure that Cambodia’s next generation of entrepreneurs are well-equipped with practical world-class training and mentorship, and have access to suitable funding and investment readiness support at the early stages of their startups. The partnership also lays the foundation for UNDP Cambodia and KE to re-enforce their common efforts in improving the SME ecosystem through providing technical and financial support to SMEs in priority sectors, including e-commerce and sustainable SME cluster development.

“UNDP is very pleased to partner with Khmer Enterprise to create opportunities, and to provide training and support to help the next generation of young entrepreneurs and professionals develop and thrive. Never has it been more important to invest in young people and their talent and energy as we find ways to manage and recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative.

“Khmer Enterprise, with the support from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, is proud to collaborate with UNDP Cambodia to create the Business Incubation Programme which promotes decent youth employment and entrepreneurship development. This is aligned to KE’s vision and mission to become the National Platform for promoting entrepreneurial activities. Through this strategic collaboration, we hope to create a synergic platform, and its impact on young aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs in the country would greatly be amplified,” said Dr. Chhieng Vanmunin, CEO of Khmer Enterprise.

Under this partnership between UNDP Cambodia and KE, a business incubation programme called Bluetribe was launched in May 2020 for Cambodia’s talented youth who have a strong interest in becoming successful entrepreneurs. The programme will provide selected youth with quality training and mentorship as well as access to seed funding to start and build their businesses. The programme application remains open until the first week of June 2020.