First in Cambodia: Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Actor Learning & Sharing Forum
First in Cambodia: Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Actor Learning & Sharing Forum
20, Jan 2020 , 5:56 pm        
ដោយ: ថ្មីៗ
Phnom Penh: On January 16, 2020 , USAID’s Women Entrepreneurs Act (WE Act) project and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) organized the first ever Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Actor Learning & Sharing Forum in Cambodia. This Forum responds to interests from a diverse group of actors with similar objectives to support Cambodian entrepreneurs, and the observation that there is an increasing need to collaborate and coordinate across these many efforts. The Forum is a platform where all actors can share best practices, insights and opportunities with the aim to jointly strengthen the Cambodian entrepreneur ecosystem.
Over 110 participants from more than 60 different organizations, including governmentrepresentatives, NGOs, financial institutions, private companies, entrepreneurs, academic and learning organizations, legal institutions, and donors came together to participate in the Forum. 
Sabine Joukes – Chief of Party - Pact, said “We are very happy to have the opportunity to organize this important forum for the first time in Cambodia, and to be able to bring together so many different actors from the entrepreneurship ecosystem to learn from and share with each other. This is an important step to strengthen our Cambodian entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

The Forum was opened with remarks from Mrs. Sabine Joukes, Chief of Party, WE Act/Pact Cambodia, Mr. Michael Newbill, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy, and by H.E Samheng Bora, Under-secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce. Participants then had the chance to hear different insights and interpretations on the Cambodia Entrepreneur Ecosystem from a panel of experts, including Ms. Claire H. Hollweg, Senior Economist at the World Bank, Ms. Omkaew “Fai” Wechayachai, Regional Chapter Manager at ANDE, Dr. Chhieng Vanmunin, CEO of Khmer Enterprises, and Mr. Kevin Robbins, Deputy Country Director of Swisscontact Cambodia. 
Mélanie Mossard, Venture Support Director, Impact Hub Phnom Penh said “What makes our ecosystem very special is the level of enthusiasm and care that each of the players put into supporting the emerging and growing startups talents.”  
“And like we love saying at Impact Hub, "Impact cannot happen in isolation, it requires collective action", so I am looking forward to joining more sharing sessions like this in the future, to strengthen our relationships.”  added Mélanie.

The Forum also aimed to increase participants’ understanding of the different ‘pillars’ or themes that make up the Entrepreneur Ecosystem though group discussions about each of the pillars, with inputs from six different experts:
•​ ​Access to Finance: Mr. David Totten, Director, Emerging Markets Consulting (EMC) 
•​ ​Human Capital: Ms. Celia Boyd, Co-founder and Managing Director, SHE Investments
•​ ​Policy and Leadership: Ms. Sou Socheata, National Project Coordinator, International Labour Organization
•​ ​Support Structures: Ms. You Bory, Vice-President, Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia (YEAC) 
•​ ​Entrepreneurial Culture: Ms. Mélanie Mossard, Venture Support Director, Impact Hub Phnom Penh 
•​ ​Markets: Mr. Erich Phillips, Executive Director, American Chamber of Commerce
“The ecosystem pillar roundtables were a fantastic step towards allowing the diversity of actors to understand the current situation and areas to be strengthened to support entrepreneurs at all stages of their business. All new journeys begin with a simple conversation, and the discussions at the Ecosystem sharing forum were deep, rich, and very promising for the future of (women) entrepreneurs in Cambodia.” said Ian Jones, Executive Director of Agile Development Group. 
About WE Act
Launched in March 2019, WE Act is a five-year project funded by USAID that supports young women entrepreneurs in Cambodia's urban centers to realize their path toward empowerment and success as entrepreneurs and leaders in their communities. We believe that if women have access to the right information, skills, capital and social and business connections, and if they have the personal agency needed to take strategic action with those resources, they will be able to achieve their entrepreneurial goals and live the lives they choose. 
For more information, please contact: 
Leng Tri
Communications Manager
077 66 7 6 76 

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