Cambodia’s First Accelerator Positioning Women for Growth, and Moving them into the Formal Economy

by | Apr 20, 2019 | Blog | 0 comments

Riya Chhin of Cambodian Top Team

Riya Chhin of Cambodian Top Team

This month, 13 women graduated from the SHE Growth Accelerator, at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Phnom Penh. 

This program was Cambodia’s first Accelerator designed to position women-led businesses for growth, and support them to transition into the formal economy by helping them to register their businesses. 

Less than 2% of women’s businesses are registered in Cambodia. This means they can’t access formal bank loans or investment, they can’t legally export products, and they can’t formally employ people under Cambodia’s labour laws. 

Srey Sung Kam, Founder of Cambodian Pepper Farm "Family Plantation", and new tech startup "MyApp Service"

Srey Sung Kam, Founder of Cambodian Pepper Farm “Family Plantation”, and new tech startup “MyApp Service”

The pilot SHE Growth Accelerator was funded by The British Embassy; a 6-month intensive business training and consulting program, during which participants attended more than 90 hours of workshops, coaching and consulting sessions. They worked with SHE‘s lead Accelerator Program Facilitators, as well as our Senior Business Consultant, to give them group and 1:1 attention to help them scale their business and support them through the registration process.

The results of this program are: 

  • 13 women-led businesses graduated (87% retention)

  • 85% of graduates increased their revenue

  • 54% of graduates created new jobs 

  • 5 businesses registered (sponsored by The British EmbassyPi Pay, and Transparency International Cambodia)

  • An increase in total monthly revenue of USD 93,300 across graduated businesses

  • 17 new jobs created (so far)

Vichka Vantha of Dai Khmer, and Hengly Eng of LYLY Shop

Vichka Vantha of Dai Khmer, and Hengly Eng of LYLY Shop

SHE Investments‘ work is focused on not only accelerating businesses, to help women bridge the SME sector in Cambodia; it is also concentrated on promoting and celebrating women as leaders and role models, and demonstrating the opportunity for scaling up the largely female-dominated MSME sector in emerging economies. The return on investment for this program, if we look at the number of new jobs created and increased collective revenue being contributed to Cambodia’s economy each month, is more than three times it’s original budget (and these women only just graduated 10 days ago). Imagine what could be achieved if women in the informal MSME sector across the Asia-Pacific had access to tailored support structures designed to facilitate their business growth, and the wider impact for communities and the regional economy.