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Swiss Grant Empowers Women Entrepreneurs

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Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA) received $50,000 from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to help develop the business and financial management skills of women entrepreneurs through trainings and workshops.
CWEA president Keo Mom said at a press conference yesterday that the grant from SDC will help boost and strengthen women-owned businesses, to make them more competitive.
“There is a big gap in the socio-economic development of women and [Cambodian] society looks down on women entrepreneurs, thinking that they have low educational qualifications and can only run small businesses,” she said.
“This grant from SDC will help improve the business leadership skills of women entrepreneurs through trainings and workshops. The trainings and workshops will focus on business and financial management and accounting and how women can make their businesses more profitable and sustainable,” added Ms. Mom. “These trainings will also help women entrepreneurs enhance their business competitiveness.”
According to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report last year, women’s economic empowerment is essential for more inclusive growth in Cambodia.
“Despite very high levels of participation in the labor force, the share of women’s vulnerable employment remains high at 70 percent in 2013 [Labor Force Survey],” said the bank.
The ADB report pointed out that Cambodian women in vulnerable employment, compared to paid employees, are less likely to have decent working conditions including adequate remuneration, social security or voice through representation in trade unions and other organizations.
The report also said women in the country also faced a lack of access to resources necessary for economic empowerment in agriculture, business development and wage employment.
“Despite the growth in the number of women entrepreneurs, there are several challenges as far as the development of women is concerned,” said CWEA’s Ms. Mom.
“Most of them lack accounting skills, they lack strategies to manage staff effectively, their production flow is messy and they can’t get finance from banks and financial institutions,” she said.
CWEA and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation expect that after this training program offered by CWEA, women entrepreneurs will be able to manage their businesses more efficiently and effectively with increased self-esteem and confidence.
Ms. Mom said some 210 women entrepreneurs who own businesses from all sectors who are both members and non-members of CWEA will benefit directly from the trainings and workshops, with a further 1,050 women entrepreneurs benefiting indirectly.
“We expect that the direct beneficiaries will share and transfer knowledge to their colleagues within or across their organizations,” she added.  
According to the national census in 2011, there are 505,134 small business enterprises in Cambodia and 61 percent of them are owned by women.

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