British business experts in various fields are ready to share their expertise with Cambodia, providing knowledge and skills that are passed along to small businesses and NGOs free of charge.
The British Executive Service Overseas, funded by the British government and private donors, has set up a local representative to promote short-term consultant services for private organizations, said John Burlison, BESO’s visiting regional director.
Responding to requests, BESO will send consultants, a majority of whom are retired, to NGOs and small- to medium-sized businesses in Phnom Penh for one to four months.
“It’s time for expert advisers to come into Cambodia, helping small businesses,” Burlison said, adding that Cambodia desperately needs a more professional private sector to develop the war-torn country’s fledgling economy.
Private institutions, including non-profit organizations that cannot afford commercial consultants, are eligible to apply for free consultant services. Client organizations are only required to provide free accommodation, food and cover local transportation costs for British professionals. BESO will take care of airfares from Britain to Cambodia, while consultants will donate their time in Phnom Penh as volunteers.
BESO has pooled more than 3,650 skilled volunteers in 1,000 categories, from agriculture to computers and tourism, Burlison said. Volunteer consultants, for example, could advise on hotel management, assist enterprises in promotion and marketing and help develop project proposals to donors, he said.
In Cambodia, BESO has been assisting the Cambodia Trust, which provides services for disabled people.
It normally takes two months to process applications for volunteer consultant services, he said. Applications are available from the British Embassy in Phnom Penh at 023-427-124 and BESO local representative Mark Parr at 023-215-923.
BESO has served in more than 50 countries worldwide for 27 years. About 700 advisory assignments are requested annually.