The tenth and final Give a Day event for 2022 was an appreciation dinner for the keynote speakers throughout the year as well as an opportunity for networking and celebration for Cambodia’s Entrepreneurial Support Organization (ECO) ecosystem.
To read more about the ninth October Give a Day: Innovative financing models supporting Cambodian entrepreneurs click here.
Khmer Enterprise CEO Dr. Chhieng Vanmunin delivered the welcoming remarks highlighting the ongoing progression of the initiative which was first piloted in 2021 before receiving its full funding for monthly and quarterly meetings in 2022.
“At Khmer Enterprise we aim to support initiatives that enhance the development of a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem and to provide financial and non-financial support to related entrepreneurial ecosystem builders.
“The Give a Day monthly meetings and quarterly ecosystem builder events have been greatly welcomed by Cambodia’s entrepreneurial community – and have provided both learnings and networking opportunities between various sectors,” he added.
Developing a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem
In addition, to monthly meetings, the initiative also included a quarterly Ecosystem Builders Network (EBN) event that has focused on mapping the six pillars of Isenberg’s Model of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.
The quarterly meetings created a space through which ecosystem builders and government agencies can share information, foster best practices, identify market gaps and opportunities and explore collaboration or complementarity to strengthen the ecosystem.
Cambodia’s ESO ecosystem, broadly defined as groups that support, train, and fund entrepreneurs is still in the nascent stage with many new organizations launched to help nature and develop the sector.
The ‘Give a Day’ initiative was launched after a successful pilot program implemented with EuroCham in 2021 and is supported by Khmer Enterprise, USAID’s WE Act project through Pact, and Swissscontact.
The one-year project, jointly funded by Khmer Enterprise, USAID’s WE Act Project through Pact Cambodia and Swisscontact, aims to strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems by deepening the trust-based relationships among the system’s actors.
The eight keynote topics of Give a Day for 2022 were:
1. Investment Readiness
2. ESOs Program Mapping
3. Funding Mapping
4. Business Models
5. Collaborative Approach
6. Digital Economy and Fintech
7. Human-Centered Design
8. Innovative Financial Modelling
According to attendee feedback, the monthly and quarterly meetings provided a platform for market matchmaking platform, linkage for SMEs/Startups to corporate, and a network for business networking and market connection to promote local products.
Ongoing investment & entrepreneurship support
Some of the collective feedback from the monthly meetings was the need for the ecosystem to provide investment readiness support and develop standardized tools for investment readiness to foster a common language between investors and entrepreneurs.
In addition, the need for blended financial solutions to address funding gaps, for instance between the pre-seed funding of around $50,000 to $100,000 was also a common theme as well as more high-quality mentors that create trust between mentees.
Ms. Sabine Joukes Chief of Party, WE Act/Pact Cambodia added in her closing remarks that the program has been a great success in its initial aim to bring the ecosystem together for better collaboration and relationship building.
Following the Give a Day event, Cambodia’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Strengthening Conference 2022 (CAMESCO 2022) will be held on 09th December 2022 at Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh.
CAMESCO aims to recap the gaps and market opportunities of Cambodia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and the way forward, share insights into regional/global initiatives and its implication in Cambodia, and co-create solutions and call for funding collaborations and alliances to make the necessary shifts in capital allocations to bridge the gaps.