Group Formed to Champion Small Businesses

Cambodia launched its first small- and medium-industry association last week, aiming to strengthen the sector through cooperation and discussion.

Thousands of small and medium businesses are currently operating without being fully informed about their specific industry, association members said Tuesday. With the formation of this new association, companies can meet to discuss obstacles facing the sector, and new ways to develop it.

“Our economy cannot be based [on] five or 10 big companies,” Sorn Sokna, vice president of the Phnom Penh Chamber of Com­merce, said Tuesday. “It must be based on millions of small companies. They are very important for economic growth.”

“If companies work as a team, they will learn more about the price of products, competition, marketing, business ideas and information technology,” said Son Seng Huot, director of the municipality’s Department of Industry, Mines and Energy.

Small businesses are those launched by local investors with a small amount of capital, Son Seng Huot explained Wednesday. “To open a small business, you don’t need to study any master plans. You just need to understand how business works—it’s like a family business.”

The association will be a voice that will inform the government about the problems facing small businesses, Son Seng Huot said. He promised to look for funding from organizations such as the Asian Development Bank and the International Labor Institution to improve conditions for small-business owners in Cambodia. Thou­sands of jobs could be created by stimulation of the small- and medium-sized industry sector, he added.

The association has the support of the Phnom Penh Cham­ber of Commerce, the In­dus­try Ministry and the municipality, members said.

The Industry Ministry is currently drafting the small- to medium-enterprises law, and hopes to pass it in the National Assembly’s next session. Son Seng Huot called on the government to pass the new law as soon as possible to protect small businesses nationwide.

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