Cambodia SME

KhmerSME Wants to Make Life Easier for Cambodian Small Businesses

The government has launched business information platform “KhmerSME,” an attempt to develop and aid in the operations of small enterprises in Cambodia.
Vendor sells vegetable along a street on the outskirts of Phnom Penh on February 11, 2021. Picture: Pring Samrang
Vendor sells vegetable along a street on the outskirts of Phnom Penh on February 11, 2021. Picture: Pring Samrang

The government has launched business information platform “KhmerSME,” an attempt to develop and aid in the operations of small enterprises in Cambodia.

The website, khmersme.gov.kh, provides information on trade events, partnership opportunities, business loan schemes and incentives, and other aspects of doing business in Cambodia.

A joint initiative between the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation and German development agency GIZ, KhmerSME is available in both Khmer and English.

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At a launch event on October 28, the ministry’s SME director-general Hort Pheng said that as of 2014 there were more than 512,000 small businesses in the country. But most were not officially registered.

“This is the main issue for the government to manage, formulate policy, to provide technical training and opportunity [for them] to access business information,” he said.

Small businesses employ more than 1.2 million people, contributing to more than 30 percent of Cambodia’s GDP.

A ministry press release says KhmerSME helps with laws and regulations, technical training, technology transfer and access to finance and markets. It hopes to promote efficiency and competition among small businesses.

It came after the June launch of a similar Asean Access website for SMEs in the region.

German ambassador Christian Berger said at the launch that Germany is well-known for its big companies — car manufacturers and chemical firms — but small businesses still underpinned the economy.

“SMEs are not the big giant. SMEs account for 80% of Germany’s industrial turnover and workforce,” Berger said.

“They provide the economy with flexibility and shock resilience, as the financial crisis of 2008 and 2010 revealed, and they are a country’s driver of innovation and technology.”

Tex Simheang, founder of KeiMeas Handicraft, welcomed the new platform, saying Cambodia should adopt more digital technologies to boost its exports after the pandemic ravaged local businesses.

“I face difficulties launching my business website. I hope KhmerSME can help in this and related issues for business owners.”