The number of Cambodian women getting involved in business is growing steadily and female entrepreneurs have begun to engage in regional business circles in recent years. But for the first time this month, a group of pioneering Cambodian businesswomen has traveled to the United States to meet with their US counterparts.
Twelve Cambodian businesswomen from state-run institutions and the private sector were invited to take part in a program sponsored by the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
The program aims to promote women’s entrepreneurship, providing advocacy strategies, best practices, and methods to cultivate women’s leadership in businesses.
Sreat Mom Sophear, CEO of SOPHIYA Corporation, a company providing tourism, home management, spa and nail services, said the initiative was a rare opportunity for her and her peers to meet with US business experts.
“The United States is the leading country in terms of technology that helps businesses to grow, and this is something that remains limited in Cambodia’s business landscape. So I think it is such a great opportunity for me, as well as other women, to learn more about global business technologies over there,” she said.
Over the course of the nine-day trip, the businesswomen will also meet with government officials to discover how federal and state institutions support small business owners.
The Cambodian government has made efforts to empower women to enter the business world. While women own the majority of businesses in Cambodia, they lack access to finance, training, mentoring, and other information that would allow them to grow their businesses.
Chen Sopheap, managing director of Keiy Tambanh Khmer, a clothing company, said she hoped to “learn how U.S. women entrepreneurs find ways to become influencers in order to expand their business circle and especially to gain access to financing networks, in order to attract larger investment in their businesses.”
Founded in 2015, Chen’s business has expanded from employing 10 to 200 female silk weavers who have gained new skills and entrepreneurship knowledge from the Keiy Tambanh Khmer Association that Chen founded.