Platform Impact Drives Cambodia’s Presence at ASEAN Inclusive Business Summit 2023

Cambodia Investment Review

The Sixth ASEAN Inclusive Business Summit served as a platform for Cambodian businesses to showcase their foray into inclusive business models, thanks to the delegation led by Platform Impact and Oxfam. Hosted in Indonesia, the summit focused on the theme of “Incentivizing Businesses for Inclusive Growth,” calling upon micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as well as large organizations, to engage in inclusive and sustainable practices that benefit not just shareholders but also broader stakeholder communities.

The summit was a milestone for the ASEAN region as it saw the official adoption of the Plan of Action for the Promotion of Inclusive Business in ASEAN (2023-2027). This action plan aims to guide the region’s enterprises and governments toward adopting inclusive business (IB) practices. It outlines four priority areas:

  • Providing policy advisory support to member states
  • Aiding businesses in the integration of inclusive business models
  • Piloting innovative financing mechanisms
  • Establishing an ASEAN-wide knowledge hub to disseminate resources and information on IB

Growth And Acceptance of The Inclusive Business Ideas in Cambodia

Oskar Haq, Senior Program and Consortium Manager from Oxfam, highlighted the growth and acceptance of the inclusive business idea. “What began as a niche concept less than a decade ago has matured into a widely accepted approach, particularly in ASEAN countries. Cambodia is leading the pack, being the first to officially embrace IB through its Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology & Innovation,” said Haq. He also pointed out that Vietnam is decentralizing the IB framework across the nation as part of their SME development agenda.

Read more: Oxfam’s Fair Finance Asia Calls on Cambodia and Other ASEAN Member States to Lead in Gender-Responsive and Sustainable Agricultural Financing

Hassan Hajam, Chief Investment Officer of Platform Impact, participated in a panel discussion moderated by Ms. Maud Savary-Mornet, Senior Advisor for Asia at the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). During this session, Hajam emphasized the strategic importance of incorporating impact measurement into corporate business strategies. “The global rise in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting means that there is a first-mover advantage for businesses that include impact measurements in their strategies,” explained Hajam.

Hassan Hajam, Chief Investment Officer of Platform Impact.

Elaborating on the real-world implications of this approach, Hajam cited the success story of Fair Farms Cambodia, an agricultural enterprise based in Kampot. Fair Farms leverages its impact measurement and commitment to transparency to fetch better prices for its organic pepper. “They pay their farmers 30% more than traditional farmers, reinforcing the argument for the economic viability of socially responsible practices,” noted Hajam.

Hajam further elucidated Platform Impact’s role in the ecosystem, stating, “We serve as the conductors of the impact economy in Southeast Asia, channeling the flow of social procurement and ethical supply chains on an international scale. We offer businesses a structured way to build their impact strategy and gain access to our wide network of knowledge partners and impact investors.”

Cambodia’s Leading Role in ASEAN’s Evolving Inclusive Business Landscape

One of the Summit’s significant segments was the investor matchmaking session conducted by Angel Investment Network Indonesia (ANGIN). Three Cambodian inclusive businesses were given the spotlight: MUCH Mobile Healthcare led by CEO Phirum Dyphan, My Dream Home headed by CEO Kongngy Hav, and Three Corner Coffee managed by Managing Director Joshua Jones.

Dyphan, who was also the recipient of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurship Network Award 2023, shared her enthusiasm about the international exposure. “Being part of this summit and receiving this award were monumental for me. The recognition empowers us to accelerate the delivery of affordable, high-quality medical services to Cambodians, especially those in underserved areas,” she said.

The contributions of Platform Impact and other Cambodian entities to the summit have spotlighted Cambodia’s leading role in ASEAN’s evolving inclusive business landscape. Platform Impact continues to work at the intersection of development sector expertise, business acumen, and an in-depth understanding of sustainable finance and impact investment markets to catalyze a more inclusive and sustainable economy in Cambodia.

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