Remarks by Ms. Sonali Dayaratne, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Cambodia
MSME Digitalization and E-commerce Acceleration: Insights from Skills and Entrepreneurship Building for E-commerce (SME-eBiZNest)
March 14, 2023
His Excellency SAMHENG Bora, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce (MoC)
His Excellency Dr. Chhieng Vanmunin, CEO of Khmer Enterprise,
Distinguished guests, and participating Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs),
I am delighted to participate today at the closing event of the Go4eCAM project - Track 2 on Skills and Entrepreneurship Building for E-commerce (SME-eBiZNest). I would like to start by congratulating the 101 MSMEs who have successfully completed the Incubation Programme on Business Digitalization. Also, I would like to recognize the hard work of the 70 MSMEs who have undergone the Innovation Challenge for Business Digitalization and E-commerce Acceleration Programme, and particularly those MSMEs onboarded into the CambodiaTrade.com platform. These valiant entrepreneurs made tremendous improvements in their business operations by embracing digitalization and e-commerce as new sources path for growth.
These results would not have been possible without our partners, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC), Khmer Enterprise (KE), and Young Entrepreneurs’ Association in Cambodia (YEAC), to whom I would like to express my deep gratitude. The MSMEs results show the extraordinary effort by all those involved in the promotion of digital transformation and the development of needed skills and opportunities for the inclusion of Cambodian MSMEs in the Digital Economy.
Excellencies, and Distinguished guests,
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has challenged businesses but has also presented and opportunity to accelerate digital transformation as an enabler for socio-economic resilience. It has highlighted the significance of digital transformation for ensuring business continuity and sustainability, accessing new markets, and expanding job markets especially for young Cambodians.
By leveraging e-commerce as a new, efficient, and highly competitive business model, MSMEs not only stay connected with their customers, but also take advantage of the wider regional and global supply chains. This new approach to business offers unparalleled opportunities- it removes geographical boundaries, allowing producers such as MSMEs in Cambodia to reach consumers quickly and efficiently. With the help of technology, consumers are no longer limited to local stores when searching for goods and services, but have access to an expanded regional and global market with just a click. Digital trade and information technologies provide access to markets that were once unreachable while improving consumer experiences with customized purchasing options.
The Royal Government of Cambodia has actively implemented stimulus packages to support MSMEs during the pandemic and accelerate digital transformation. These measures are particularly significant, as MSMEs contribute to a hefty 58% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create 70% of all jobs, with women owned and/ or led businesses constituting the majority. As such, it is paramount that the changes brought by digital transformation are designed to benefit all stakeholders, especially those at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
UNDP has been actively supporting digital transformation and technology-enabled solutions to promote economic growth, resilience, and poverty reduction in Cambodia. To this end, UNDP has been supporting numerous technical assistance programs and initiatives over the past few years to implement the Royal Government’s vision for a stronger MSME sector through business digitalization, these include for illustration:
E-commerce promotion during COVID-19 for business continuity and resilience (ex. three e-commerce campaigns, farmers onboarding onto AgriTech platforms, among others)
Virtual job matching forum with the National Employment Agency (NEA)
Access to Credit Guarantee Scheme for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), including a Women Credit Guarantee Scheme.
Innovation challenge for plastic alternatives for sustainable e-commerce.
Skills and Entrepreneurship Building for E-commerce (SME-eBiZNest) as part of Go4eCAM project in which are sharing the key insights today.
Excellencies, distinguished guests, and participating MSMEs,
Today, I would like to highlight particularly our partnership with the Ministry of Commerce, Khmer Enterprise, and Young Entrepreneurs’ Association of Cambodia which resulted in intensively training a total of 101 MSMEs within the framework of the “MSMEs Digitalization Incubation programme”, enhancing their capabilities to uptake the e-commerce solution for selling online both domestically and cross-border. In addition, 70 MSMEs, of which 53% are women-owned, and 49% are based in the provinces, participated in the “Innovation Challenge on Business Digitalisation and E-commerce Acceleration”, providing them with the opportunity for tapping into innovative solutions to accelerate business digital transformation and e-commerce application to reach a broader clientele both in domestic and international markets.
We are proud that these MSMEs have now access to cross-border e-commerce platforms such as CambodiaTrade.com and technical support on e-commerce business formalization and export-readiness.
We are here today to celebrate this progress, share the learnings, and insights from the journey of the MSMEs, hoping that digital transformation and e-commerce are demystified and an open dialogue space is sustained among the Ministry, the private sector, and other service providers that form the e-commerce ecosystem to address any challenges that may be faced in the digital transformation and export readiness journey.
In closure, I would like to thank you all for joining us today. We are grateful for your support and would like to reconfirm UNDP’s commitment to supporting and partnering with the private sector and the Royal Government of Cambodia to accelerate socio-economic recovery and Least Developed Country (LDC) graduation, and promote sustainable development and growth that leaves no one behind.
Wishing you a good continuation and fruitful exchanges.