Cambodia Investment Review
Give a Day, the principal entrepreneurial ecosystem community networking event in Cambodia, is broadening its reach to Siem Reap. The inaugural event occurred on June 15th, inaugurating an exciting new chapter for Give a Day. The Give A Day concept emerged from the entrepreneurial community as part of the Social Network Analysis study conducted by the Credit Suisse – Swisscontact (CSSC) Initiative.
This study, funded by the Credit Suisse Financial Inclusion Initiative (FII) and implemented by Swisscontact in collaboration with Impact Hub Phnom Penh, aimed to assess the connectivity among players within the entrepreneurial network in Cambodia’s capital city. The research, conducted in 2019, inspired the creation of Give A Day. After a successful pilot in 2021 and gaining momentum in 2022, Give a Day has proved to be a crucial platform for fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange among Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs).
In 2022, Give a Day attracted the participation of over 300 ESOs. The impact of Give a Day was evident in the feedback received from community members. A survey revealed that 100% of the respondents found the event to be an excellent opportunity to meet and exchange valuable information, while 85% acknowledged that it added value to their work. In 2023, Give a Day returns with the joint efforts of Khmer Enterprise and Swisscontact as organizers. The primary objective remains the same: strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystems by fostering trust-based relationships among all actors within the system.
Expanding reach outside the capital
Following the success of Give a Day in Phnom Penh, the organizers are now expanding their reach to the provinces. Alongside the regular events in Phnom Penh, Give a Day will be piloted in Siem Reap Province, marking the first step in establishing connections between different entrepreneurial ecosystems across Cambodia. The provincial Give a Day events will be held quarterly, facilitating the integration and collaboration of local ecosystems with the central hub in Phnom Penh.
Give A Day in Siem Reap was organized in collaboration with USAID’s WE Act Project through Pact Cambodia. Along with insightful sessions, ways for individuals to get involved and support the entrepreneurial ecosystem through “Give a Day” were highlighted. Additionally, Ms. Lisa Chao, Business Networking Lead at Khmer Enterprise, shared valuable insights from previous Give a Day events in Phnom Penh.
Helene Veal, co-founder of Enterprise Vision, expressed her enthusiasm about the event, stating, “It was truly inspiring to witness the collective efforts and ideas shared during the event, highlighting the importance of bridging the gap between public and private partnerships. Such collaboration is crucial for maximizing efficiency and extending support to budding entrepreneurs.”
Establishing a cohesive entrepreneurial ecosystem
Discussions and sessions at the event centered around establishing a cohesive entrepreneurial ecosystem, enabling participants to exchange ideas and share best practices. Key insights revealed the pressing need for a centralized platform where policymakers, donors, investors, and SMEs can engage in discussions and share information. Additionally, there is a lack of an online directory for Enterprise Support Organizations (ESOs).
To cater to the needs of start-ups and SMEs, it is crucial to enhance skill training in vital areas such as digital marketing, business development, branding, fundraising, and strategic consulting. Despite the current lack of access to training, information, connection, and collaboration, the system also presents networking opportunities, skill acquisition prospects, and information sharing avenues. One potential solution is to integrate skill development into university curriculums or offer short course programs.
Give a Day in Siem Reap and the ongoing events in Phnom Penh are set to play a pivotal role in strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem across Cambodia. By fostering collaboration, trust, and knowledge exchange, Give a Day continues to empower ESOs and contribute to the overall growth and success of startups and entrepreneurs in the country.