Cambodia Investment Review
The 5th Ecosystem Builders Network (EBN) meeting was held on 26th July 2023 at the Khmer Enterprise Office in Phnom Penh. Initiated in 2022, the EBN aims to create collaboration among Development Partners, ecosystem builders, and Government agencies. The EBN has been focusing on the six pillars of the Isenberg model, leading to a shared vision validated at CAMESCO22.
H.E. Dr. Vanmunin Chhieng, CEO of Khmer Enterprise, opened the meeting by emphasizing the collective commitment towards enhancing Cambodia’s entrepreneurial landscape. The work of the EBN shows the strength of collaborating with the stakeholders including Khmer Enterprise who outlined there desire to create a entrepreneurial ecosystem roadmap that will lead Cambodia into a future filled with entrepreneurial opportunity.
A Cohesive and Comprehensive Strategy
The discussion of the EBN Roadmap was led by Rajiv Pradhan, Country Director of Swisscontact, and participants reviewed feedback from the 4th EBN meeting and strategized the roadmap preparation. “We need a cohesive and comprehensive strategy that speaks to the heart of Cambodia’s entrepreneurial spirit,” Rajiv emphasized. The entrepreneurial ecosystem roadmap will be finalized outlining a 5-year plan with well-defined scopes and action steps.
Madinay Chhuon of Swisscontact led the next phase, focusing on the Technical Working Group’s formation. The detailed discussion on the Terms of Reference (ToR) highlighted the group’s role in overseeing the entrepreneurial ecosystem roadmap development. “This working group is an essential piece in making our vision a reality. Together, we are paving the path for a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Madinay remarked.
Group Discussions: Attention to Support Functions
During the meeting, several group discussions focused on key areas, with particular attention given to support functions. The participants provided valuable feedback, shedding light on crucial aspects such as Academic Support, Technical Support Services, Research & Development, Trade Promotion, Fintech Support, and Investment Advisors. These dialogues not only explored current challenges but also led to key additions and recommendations. The comprehensive examination signified the collective intention to enhance and streamline the support mechanisms within Cambodia’s entrepreneurial landscape.
The discussions then shifted to the regulatory functions, an equally vital part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Participants examined the existing regulatory landscape, including Investment Law, Capital Mobilization, and Environment and Social Safeguard Framework. Emphasis was placed on proposed changes to current strategies, with a view to create a more conducive and nurturing environment for entrepreneurship in Cambodia. The regulatory segment demonstrated a shared commitment to redefining the guidelines that shape business practices in the country.
Group Discussions: Clear Rules and Responsibilities
The meeting also involved deliberation on the governance structure of the Technical Working Group (TWG). The groups dissected the member criteria, rules and responsibilities, and a clear timeframe, aiming to create a robust framework for the TWG. The exercise ensured that the newly formed group would operate with efficiency and transparency. Participants were also informed that the TWG is planned to be formed by August 2023, signaling a promising new phase in Cambodia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem roadmap.
Key topics in a Q&A session included the challenges of LDC Graduation and Global Minimum Tax. Further insights were shared on IBeeC, a 2020 strategy approved by the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MISTI), to foster inclusive businesses.
The session wrapped up with an emphasis on the necessity of tracking environmental and social safeguards, reflecting a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to Cambodia’s entrepreneurial vision.
A Path Towards Realizing Cambodia’s Entrepreneurial Vision
From its inception in March 2022 to the current meeting, the EBN has made steady progress. The 5th EBN meeting has carved a significant path towards realizing Cambodia’s entrepreneurial vision, particularly with the TWG’s formation. The collective commitment, articulated through a detailed roadmap and actionable next steps, holds the promise of transforming Cambodia into a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.
The unfolding entrepreneurial ecosystem roadmap, which will be guided by to-be-formed Technical Working Group, marks an exciting era in Cambodia’s economic growth and innovation. With continued collaboration and focus, the nation’s entrepreneurial landscape seems poised for a thriving future.