Female entrepreneur

Female Entrepreneur Crowned Advocate of the Year at International Awards

Chea Ratha is celebrating after she won advocate of the year for her tireless work inspiring women in tech coupled with her mission to upgrade Cambodian female entrepreneurs’ digital and financial capacity.
Chea Ratha
Chea Ratha

A leading Cambodian entrepreneur has been crowned advocate of the year for her vision to create a sustainable economy by equipping women entrepreneurs with digital skills and training in financial literacy to get their online businesses booming.

Chea Ratha, who won this year’s advocate of the year at the Women in IT Summit & Awards Series, is a successful self-made entrepreneur, technology leader and role model for the future generation looking to pursue a career in STEM.

“She is a multiplier and a true believer of the potential of tech entrepreneurship for women, and she has also helped train hundreds of women-led MSMEs in digital and financial literacy,” said the Women in IT Summit & Awards Series on June 28.

The series aims to support the tech industry in its mission to move the dial on diversity and inclusion. By providing a global platform to showcase advocates and role models, the growing programme works alongside industry champions to share knowledge, break digital boundaries, and promote the importance of an inclusive tech sector.

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In an interview with Kiripost, Ratha said she is happy and grateful that her efforts in helping build capacity upgrades for women entrepreneurs towards the digital economy has been recognised and appreciated on the international stage.

“I hope all our women entrepreneurs continue to work together and build their digital capacity,” Ratha said. “We are stronger together. I hope I can be the source of inspiration to other women in Cambodia to step out of their comfort zone.”

Ratha is the CEO and founder of Khmum. She started the e-commerce platform in 2018 to connect MSMEs, with an emphasis on women-led businesses, with consumers in Cambodia and beyond. Ratha is also a vice president at Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA).

According to its LinkedIn page, Khmum-eShop stocks more than 5,000 products. They range from handicrafts, Khmer organic groceries, meat, vegetables, wine, baby products, beauty and personal care, to books, electronics, shoes, handbags and home décor.

Ratha said many women feel bewildered when they begin their career in technology. She has made it her mission to share what she has learned in her profession and assist women to succeed in their careers.

“Together we will help change the Cambodian stereotype that women can’t learn or understand technology,” Ratha said.

Ratha has a bachelor's degree in computer science and MBA in finance, a combination of synergy that has also earned her an award for best employee of the year. She went on to receive recognition while working in the US and Australia as a senior financial analyst.

“I was able to automate and develop many lean process improvements using my software development skills,” she said.

Ratha added that she used the skill-set to develop Khmum-shop to give vendors access to finance via the eCommerce platform.

“We are one of the first eCommerce platforms in Cambodia that have this feature built-in,” she said. "It's my dream to make Cambodia a better country by giving women-led businesses a path to join the formal economy.”

Ratha’s proudest moment as a woman leader in the IT sector happened during the tough times of the pandemic. In July 2021, she discovered she had won an initiative she applied for with the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) through the Women Recovery Fund program in 2020.

UNCDF contributed to her initiative to train 400 women-led MSMEs in digital and financial literacy to enable them to expand their market with Khmum eShop. Topics covered included how to use the stock inventory, sales transaction, and financial transactions to create a complete financial statement to access loans without collateral from the Khmum eShop app through its partner banks.

“We are the first eCommerce in Cambodia with an all-in-one solution for our vendors. We partnered with CWEA to roll out this training and so far we have trained around 450 MSMEs. So definitely, I would encourage young female students to take on STEM as a career,” she added.