Women Entrepreneurs Act (WE Act) and Sevea have marked the end of a three-year commitment assisting Cambodian young women entrepreneurs celebrating with a speech and networking night.
Sevea, supported by Geeks in Cambodia and iCube, have been implementing partners of the WE Act Project (funded by the USAID and implemented by PACT Cambodia) since 2019.
The event held at the SOSORO Museum in Phnom Penh highlighted the program funded by the USAID and coordinated by Pact Cambodia targeting young women entrepreneurs and female university students between the ages of 18 to 35, based in Phnom Penh.
The project aimed to support young women entrepreneurs to strengthen their skills, business linkages, and participation with relevant associations.
Senior government representatives at the event included HE Koung Sorita, Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of the Women’s Affairs, and HE Dr. Chea Serey, Assistant Governor and Director General of the National Bank of Cambodia.
Women entrepreneurs should not be limited by cultural barriers
Dr. Chea Serey said she believed in the potential of young women and women entrepreneurs shall not only be limited by social and cultural barriers or the environment they live. On the contrary, they should have equal opportunities to release their full potential in every endeavor.
“To this end, immediate supportive measures shall be addressed to strengthen their skills, business linkages. For that, participation from all relevant stakeholders is needed. This is why the WE-Act project is such a powerful example of how one can make a lot of impact in this space,” Serey said.
“I believe that the achievements to be presented today will reflect the pathway toward empowerment and success for young women entrepreneurs all over the country,” she added.
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Among the young women entrepreneurs who benefited from the program, many of them were also present speaking about the challenges that young women entrepreneur’s face and the positive impact of the program on their life.
Ms. Kim Tan, Vice President and Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia Women’s Committee, also attended the event and expressed her delight at seeing the overwhelming support for young female entrepreneurs in Cambodia.
Ms. Kim Tan delivered an empowering speech to the young female entrepreneurs, encouraging them to keep innovating and helping to break down biases and discrimination that they will face as women to reach their full potential.
She also emphasized that the women will serve as role models for many other young women to forge their own path and pursue their own dreams.
Ms. Sabine Joukes Pact Cambodia Country Director and WE Act Chief of Party who also attended the event said: WE Act stands for Women Entrepreneurs Act and the project, which is funded by USAID has been actively supporting young women entrepreneurs since 2018.
“Tonight marks a milestone in proving what potential there is in young women, to come up with business ideas, grow them, mentor them and bring them to reality. It shows that with the right support, networks and resources, young women entrepreneurs can be as successful as their male counterparts,” Joukes said.
“WE Act also thanks the ongoing support from the Government, through the National Bank of Cambodia and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs who can ensure that policies and support structures are in place to continue providing young women with this structural support,” she added.
Highlights over the three years included:
- Women Entrepreneurship Challenge. Two cycles of this challenge gathered 60 university students coached by experienced women entrepreneurs having beneficiated from the previous edition of the project. Each group needed to develop and pitch one business idea in front of a Jury.
- Extended Coaching Program. 20 young women entrepreneurs with promising business ideas received more than 60 hours of one-on-one coaching sessions with experienced coaches.
- Mini-Grant and Business Development Support Program. 24 vulnerable young women entrepreneurs, including women suffering from the COVID-19 crisis, received a $750 mini-grant to support their activities, as well as business training and tailored one-on-one coaching sessions.
Ms. Cécile Dahomé, Cofounder and Executive Director of Sevea. said at our scale, we are trying to contribute to better empowering young women in Cambodia, said Cambodia Investment Review has previously reported on the impact investors Seeva which aim to invest for social and environmental impact as well as profit.
“This Final Ceremony is a great acknowledgement of what we have been doing so far, and I would like to thank PACT Cambodia and the USAID for having put their faith in us,” she added.
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The Ceremony was sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (Main Sponsor), the Cambodia Association of Finance & Technology (Strategic Sponsor), ABA Bank (Challenge Sponsor), MG Cambodia (Sponsor), Coca Cola (Beverage Sponsor) and the Sosoro Museum (Venue Partner).