Providing Health Care to the People

Phirum Dyphan harbored a dream of bringing her business - providing home health care - to the international stage. Now her dream has come true after she scooped the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurship Network award
Phyrum Dyphan
Phyrum Dyphan

Bringing her business, Much Mobile Health Care (MUCH), to the international stage has always been a dream for Phirum Dyphan, and now she has made it happen.

“It used to be my dream,” the 42-year-old entrepreneur said. “I always told my staff and myself, and I wrote on the board that one day, ‘I will bring MUCH to the international stage’.” 

Phirum, CEO of MUCH, recently received the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurship Network Award 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia. She was awarded as an outstanding woman entrepreneur in ASEAN. 

“At first, I felt it was normal since it’s my daily activity,” she said. “But considering it again, I was very proud to receive this award as I represented Cambodian women and was recognized by others in ASEAN.”

Dyphan started her business in 2016 after more than 10 years of working as a nurse in both the public and private sectors. She finished her diploma in nursing at Kampong Cham Regional School in 2001. 

As she has a strong background working as a nurse since 2007, Phirum harbored the idea of providing home healthcare services to people. However, her concept was impossible at that time since she lacked the necessary business experience and financial resources, Phirum, of Kratie, said. 

“During my previous work in the private institution, there were people asking for the home healthcare services. However, my colleagues and I could not do it,” she said. 

“Even if my workplace sent someone to care for the patient, it could be an hour. So, my colleagues and I always thought of how to provide this service to them.”

However, her idea of providing home healthcare services was put on hold as she could not do anything about it. In 2015, Phirum actively participated in entrepreneurship training and was allocated a mentor who counseled her to start a company with her expertise. 

“As she saw my potential, she told me to do something related to my skills. However, I didn’t know how to do business. I told her about my idea in 2017,” she said. “She suggested I study that idea and encouraged me to do it.”

After putting her faith in Phirum’s concept, she began to research business practices, look for funding, and determine how to make it happen. She said that after taking part in training course, WeCreate, in 2016 she was awarded a grant. 

MUCH is the first company in Cambodia to provide home healthcare services to people. In addition, it has doctors and nurses who can provide medical care. 

Since it offers home healthcare services, which differ from hospital healthcare, she must understand the behavior and culture of her consumers in order to provide quality services to them. 

“It’s the commitment. We need to make sure they are sacrificed. Since we have different customers, we need to design different models even if we have a standard model,” she said. “Also, they have different demands, so we need to be flexible based on each family culture.”

Currently, customers can access the business’s services via its website, Facebook page, and phone number. Although Phirum does not currently have a consumer-facing app, she plans to do so in the future since the nation is embracing digital technology, she said. 

Besides providing healthcare services to local people, Phirum’s previous employer used to send her team to other countries, including Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Germany, England, and the USA. 

People living abroad can get in touch with her company's service through their embassy, a friend or relative as her company has strong branding and customer service, she said.

“It’s word of mouth,” Phirum noted. “We rarely promote our service online, but there’s a good spread about our service, and the quality and morality of MUCH. The service they receive goes beyond medical care and this is the reason.”

She added that Cambodians, who serve as her staff, have a gentleness that contributes to Phirum’s business in other ways. 

Challenges in Running Her Own Business

With no background in operating a business, Phirum faced multiple challenges along the way, including having time for family, and managing and leading a team. However, she had a strong commitment to succeed. 

“I was determined to make it, even if I met many challenges,” she said. “I didn’t care what I might encounter. I only knew that I had to go on.”

Additionally, she did not receive any support from her family as she had no relatives involved in the business. “I was the one who had to break the rule or the box,” she said. 

Moreover, Phirum did not have enough time for her family as she devoted most of her time working on her business. She added that she sacrificed herself for her company and sometimes almost broke up with her loved ones. 

“Sometimes, I took care of the patients by myself,” she said. 

Besides that, she had to train her staff as they were not familiar with this type of business. 

"At first, the staff wasn't interested in doing it as they were worried about working at another residence. They lacked confidence and did not want to work with MUCH,” she said. “So, I committed to make this career professional so that everyone accepts it.”

However, the profession has now been accepted as a professional career, she added. 

Besides that, as her business was new and no one else was doing it, she was unable to find a role model for herself. She said that she had to research, study, and do everything by herself. 

“At that time, with my commitment, I believed that I could make it since I could even eat leftover rice and I was not a materialistic woman”, she said. 

Tips to Run a Business

Phirum believes that women who wish to start their own business do not encounter as many challenges as those with a family. 

However, she noted from previous experience that if a woman wishes to run her own company, she must be certain about the sort of business she can run. 

Moreover, she needs determination to achieve it, even if there is no motivation or support, Phirum added. 

"She must be certain that if she faces challenges will she fail or not, especially in terms of her mentality. Regarding her mentality, how resilient she is in overcoming obstacles,” she said. “So, they must be conscious of her mentality, maintain it, and adhere to it, even if facing a severe storm.”

Besides that, Phirum said that they must be ready to face loneliness. “If they are a lonely person, do they still have the mentality to do it? Do they need to be motivated or determined?,” she questioned. 

In addition, people need to be able to persuade their partner and family that they can do it and how they can do it, she added. 

Phirum emphasized that running a business is similar to having a baby. Despite hearing many unfavorable comments from others, she was determined to take care of it. 

"For instance, someone once said that our baby wasn't healthy and questioned why we should nurture him if he wouldn’t survive. As mothers, do we give up? It's a no,” she said. “So, it’s similar to business. If someone says that it does not work, we do not give up and keep looking for a solution.”

ASEAN Women Entrepreneurship Network Award 2023 is Phirum’s third award, followed by the Winner Superstar Award 2022 and Cambodian Young Entrepreneur Award 2017.