Young entrepreneurs leading economic prosperity

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Winners of the Cambodian Young Entrepreneurs Awards 2018. KT/Say Tola

Business owners from all over Cambodia gathered last Saturday night to give recognition to the kingdom’s young entrepreneurs who have given enormous contribution to the economy and the job market.

The Junior Chamber International Cambodia (JCI-Mekong) and the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia (YEAC) held the Cambodian Young Entrepreneur Awards 2018 at Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel and Residence last weekend, giving 16 entrepreneurs the chance to show off their businesses and how they have managed to boost their businesses up despite stiff competitions.

After the business presentations of the 16 finalists, five awards were given to the entrepreneurs who have shown utmost dedication and resilience in their business management plans and strategies.

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Keat Aphivath, founder and CEO of Hybrid Advertising, was awarded as this year’s Best Entrepreneur. Mr Phav Daroath, founder of WaterSHED Ventures, and Ms Thaung Thyda, founder of THAUNG Enterprise, were given the Best Social Entrepreneur and Best Woman Entrepreneur Awards, respectively. Technology Entrepreneurship Award was handed to Mr Kheng Vantha, the founder and MD of Biz Solution; while the Startup Award was given to Ms Ry Thany, the founder of Norea-Angkor Handicraft.

In his welcome remarks, Mr Heng Sok Kung, secretary of state of the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft, expressed his pride and gratitude to all the young Cambodian entrepreneurs who have built strong networks and have shared their experiences locally and internationally, thus contributing to the rapid economic development.

“Private sector and entrepreneurs have played very important roles to the Cambodian economic growth. With this great opportunity, I also want to propose to all entrepreneurs to strengthen themselves more, their companies, and create local competitions for entrepreneurs in provinces. I also call for monthly conversations – exchange of experiences and plans – among entrepreneurs to create stronger networks,” said Mr Sok Kung.

Kouch Pheng, president of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia, emphasised that all the 16 finalists have equal potentials and capabilities to make their businesses grow more. He said the judges had a hard time deciding who the winners will be, as everyone showed real enthusiasm to promote their entrepreneurial ventures.

“Judges found it hard to score all these potential entrepreneurs as there are only five awards. It does not mean that the other 11 contestants are weak. They just have something to improve more. All of their weaknesses and points to improve were discussed.”

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He added that the association will try its best to promote the programme to more entrepreneurs across provinces. Mr Pheng also encouraged the contestants and all the attendees to grab the opportunities the association is offering them, like the low loan interests that they can use to start their businesses.

Keat Aphivath, Founder and CEO of Hybrid Advertising and the Best Entrepreneur of CYEA 2018, said that she has never thought of winning the award at the beginning. She just wanted to show her ability to other entrepreneurs and learn from others as well. And it turned out, she was the first woman to be given the Best Entrepreneur title in the competition’s four-year run.

“Today I want to give a message to all the women that they are all strong and able if they really commit on their goals. It is beneficial to join this competition and be awarded as it can help your brand become widely known,” said Ms Aphivath.

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