New NGO Aims to Propel Women In Business

Women run most of the businesses in Cambodia, but they often lack the resources or know-how to sustain or expand them, a reality that prompted the launch on Friday of Wecreate Cambodia, an NGO that aims to help businesswomen excel.

The organization will support female entrepreneurs by providing them with mentoring, coaching, networking and business strategies in order to establish or advance their business plans, said Chantha Nguon, Wecreate’s event and program director. 

“We focus on women that have a dream, but it’s very difficult for her [to pursue], so we can give her an idea of how to start,” she said.

According to a March report by the Asian Development Bank, women account for about 65 percent of business owners in the country. A lack of business training, however, contributes to their businesses often falling behind those of men, the report says.

Oftentimes, Ms. Nguon said, women will invest in a business with little knowledge of the market and only vague planning.

“We do have [successful] male entrepreneurs, that’s why we would like to empower women,” she said.
However, Sandra D’Amico, managing director of human resources firm HR Inc., said that a woman’s chance of succeeding comes down to their personal drive.

“I think it really comes down to the individual and their tenacity to pursue such things,” Ms. D’Amico said.

“Experience, a network, [and] access to other professional developments to see how others are doing…are what really play an important role in expanding a business,” she said.

Wecreate Cambodia, created in a partnership between the U.S. State Department’s bureau of economic and business affairs and global business advancement group StartUp Cup, will begin offering donor-funded workshops next week and low-cost courses in about a month, Ms. Nguon said.

“We don’t fight for them, but we will guide them and they will be strong,” she said of the women who enroll in Wecreate programs.

“They have to start their own businesses; we don’t start the businesses for them.”

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