Cambodia: New business ecosystem promotes growth for trade and transparency

As Cambodia’s promising tech and digital sectors continue to flourish, so too does the opportunity for both domestic and foreign investors to support the SMEs, start-ups and microbusinesses that underpin them.

However, these companies are currently fragmented across the Kingdom’s business and geographical landscape, which can make it difficult for investors to identify these opportunities and provide small companies with the finance and business acumen they need to grow.

Speaking at the Future of Work event held in the KY iCentre recently, Founder and CEO of Accel8Asia, Victor La acknowledged the need for better transparency and has divulged plans to create a business ecosystem in Phnom Penh that will encourage collaboration, increase communicative efficiency and generate trade opportunities for businesses and their respective sectors to develop in tandem.

“Many SMEs have trouble scaling; our ecosystem provides a solution to this by encouraging service integration across multiple sectors. We believe this is the future of business development and will aid Cambodia in providing its services domestically and to the world.”

The ecosystem contains an incubation programme that bottlenecks small businesses and channels investment opportunities for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) – drastically reducing the guesswork and search time that is currently needed to find these hidden gems.

“This is the first incubation programme in Cambodia for overseas private investors – we want to acquaint them with SMEs and start-ups from 1st round investment stages, as opposed to second or third stage, so as to create a more meaningful connection that oversees the growth of projects from the ground up.”

“This ecosystem is not just for contemporary and emerging sectors – Our primary focus is to help traditional markets modernise their practice so they can simplify their operations, reach bigger markets and optimise their processes.”

The prestigious KY iCenter in Phnom Penh’s BK3 district is a grade B listed building. Its digitally integrated offices with large shared spaces in the centre boast a bright and ergonomic work area with breathtaking views of Phnom Penh and beyond – a great space for budding entrepreneurs to feel inspired and excited about the future prospects in the Kingdom of Wonder.

The ecosystem will also host regular guest talks and seminars, connecting entrepreneurs with an overseas network of technology, business and investment advisors and mentors to provide deeper knowledge of industry standards. Fostering accelerated growth, information sharing and plugging into other ecosystems outside of the local market.

This initiative comes as the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), an integrated market including 15 members of ASEAN and 5 regional partners, comes into effect at the start of 2022. The RCEP agreement accounts for almost one-third of the global GDP and is an excellent opportunity for Cambodia to broaden its reach and strengthen its involvement in international territories.

“Cambodia’s economy is young but has so much potential – with Covid accelerating the adoption of digital practices, it is vital we keep our workforce developing at an equivalent pace to ensure we can continue to capitalise on new opportunities as our economic ties strengthen.”