Sovannaphum Life Assurance Plc, with its financial strength and trust, is making women's economic empowerment its top corporate social responsibility (CSR) priority this year by financing small-scale businesswomen.
Its objective is consistent with the government's vision of advancing financial inclusion across the social spectrum to increase economic and social equality.
Sovannaphum Life is partnering with Lady Saving Group – part of Women Entrepreneurs Act, a non-profit organisation – to create a vibrant business environment for women to participate in.
On March 8, the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia will host the "2023Women Run 10K ", which will be sponsored by Sovannaphum Life and serve as the company's first CSR project of the year.
Sovannaphum Life will contribute 4,000 riel for each registered runner to fund its CSR initiative, withsome 2,000 runners expected to participate.
The 10km women’s run –this year themed "Women in Leadership" – is being heldon International Women’s Day, and starts in front of Wat Botumvotey Park at 5:30am. Families and children can take part in a shorter 4km fun run on the same day.
Sovannaphum Life Assurance CEO Loke Kah Meng said that by collaborating with Lady Saving Group, the company can take its CSR initiative – which serves as an ideal platform – to reach out to women entrepreneurs
"Sovannaphum Life is delighted to collaborate with Lady Saving Group to support women's empowerment, as women are essential in bringing about constructive social change.
"We are dedicated to supporting Cambodian women's entrepreneurial journeys through our CRS programme by offering micro-loans to run their businesses independently.
"We believe our CSR effort will offer some financial comfort for businesswomen managing small-scale enterprises," said Loke Kah Meng.
Lady Saving Group conducts regular awareness programmes on financial literacy, entrepreneur leadership, career guidance and mentoring for women.
"Sovannaphum Life’s efforts in granting micro-loans to small businesses demonstrate how corporate citizens can support self-help organisations like Lady Saving Group in fostering the expansion of women's business in Cambodia.
"One of the largest obstacles for women entrepreneurs is still having easy access to capital.
"But this issue can be resolved with organisations like Sovannaphum Life continuing to demonstrate their commitment to creating a vibrant business environment for women," said Lady Saving Group Co-founder and Strategy and Programme Manager Virak Bonnarath.
A total of $2,000 from the event will be allocated for the CSR project, of which $500 will be given to the organisation to finance its activities, while five businesswomen will each receive $300 in interest-free loans.
Borrowers need to repay the amount within 10 months,with the money to then be redistributed to other deserving businesswomen.
The second borrower under the programme is Coconut Oil Craft owner Dy Vichra, 35, from Phnom Penh's Sangkat Boeung Tompoung.
Operating from her home and with two employees, the mother of a young child will use the money to expand her business by recruiting more people from her area.
"It is nice to see Sovannaphum Life recognising women entrepreneurs like me who are contributing to society in small ways.
"I will be using the money to grow my coconut oil production by hiring more of my friends from the neighbourhood.
"Small but valuable initiatives like this can help women be more financially independent, and also improve the quality of our lives," said Vichra.
Sovannaphum Life is offering runners special discounts of up to 20 per cent for its premier product – SMILE Life Solutions. This offer is valid from now until March 31, 2023.