State-owned Khmer Enterprise (KE) on December 14 launched the SME Investment Readiness Programme to enhance the competitiveness of start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME), and help them raise external financing and form a network of investors and bankers.
Solely funded by KE and implemented by local venture capital firm and fund manager Obor Management Co Ltd, the programme intends to recruit the Kingdom’s top SMEs that are deemed to be “close to reaching investment readiness and looking to understand and engage with new financial partners to upscale their business to the next level”.
KE CEO Chhieng Vanmunin said the programme would be important to enhance access to finance for local start-ups and SMEs to scale up their business operations.
“This remains one of the major obstacles for start-ups and SMEs in Cambodia. After completing this programme, it is hoped that start-ups and SMEs can raise new capital,” he said.
Obor CEO and chairman Christophe Forsinetti underlined that the programme would be a significant step in strengthening the start-up and SME support ecosystem, which he said Obor has focused on for several years.
“We look forward to supporting young Cambodian companies to become the leaders of their space in the next 10 years,” he said.
KE said in a statement that recruitment for the programme will be on a rolling basis through to January. Phase I is set to run from February to March, with a cohort of 25 SMEs going through workshop training.
At the end of group training, Obor and programme partners will select top SMEs among the 25 to proceed to the final phase, which is scheduled to run from April to May, KE said.
It described the phase as an intensive programme where SMEs will have one-on-one support from market-leading SME business advisers and operators.
On top of training and one-on-one support, there will also be a prize money pool of $15,000 awarded to the top SMEs alongside any new capital raised, KE said, adding the sum was sponsored by Advanced Bank of Asia Ltd (ABA Bank), AMK Microfinance Institution Plc, Wing Bank (Cambodia) Plc, and Small and Medium Enterprise Bank of Cambodia Plc (SME Bank).