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Trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Chhieng Vanmunin, chief executive officer of Khmer Enterprise, the national platform for promoting entrepreneurial activities. KT/Siv Channa

A lot of young Cambodian adults now want to operate their own business rather than working for others. This trend has been rising year-on-year because they think working for themselves would help them become rich rapidly.

If we take a look at the trend, some businesses succeed, but some businesses don’t. Some issues behind the trend that motivate and encourage young Cambodian people to quickly start a  business when they are young is because the media tend to portray only successful businesspeople who became rich.

Some businesspeople take advantage of this by offering various courses to study how to become rich, to become a successful young businessperson and entrepreneur even though they do not have entrepreneurship skills or experience of running a successful business.

This encouraged young Cambodian people with few resources, little experience and low skills to enter the businesses arena without knowing the risks and pitfalls.

This trend is a big issue for Cambodia now which needs to be fixed immediately, says Mengly J Quach, the founder of Mengly J Quach Education. He said the government, especially the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS), and Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, must pay serious attention to this matter.

Mengly said: “For Cambodian youth, if they have less experience, knowledge and low skills as well as lack of working capital, the chance of failure is high when they want to run a business. Starting a business at a young age without experience, knowledge and skill is a strategy for failure.”

He added that young entrepreneurs or young businesspeople must be mature and have enough experience, capital, reserve funds and know what business they want to do and make it unique so it will lead them to success.

Mengly explained: “You have to understand that for some young entrepreneurs or businesspeople who succeeded it was down to the fact they have family and parents offering support regarding funding, working capital and investment plus their experiences.

However, it is risky for those who want to run a business and want to become rich and join a workshop, seminar or short course. This will not help them to become rich as they expect.  Mengly says young Cambodian people have to learn and work first before they can run their own business.

“Please do not run a business based on sunrise and sunset,” he added. “If you want to run a business you must have a skill, knowledge and experience, capital and the ability to network,” Mengly said, adding that failure to have those traits mean the chances of failure is high.

Another prominent entrepreneur, Pech Bolen, who is president of Westline Education Group, said those young people who have an entrepreneurship idea are good for the country because they can start a business and create jobs for the nation. boosting the domestic economy.

Bolen added that if they have a long term vision, they can do it. But they have to be aware that  entrepreneurship is different from a normal business. It requires an innovative idea, social responsibility, bringing positive changes to the country.

“Being an entrepreneur is not easy because there are many things to prepare and to do. When they operate a business, they must have ethics, responsibility, skill and knowledge and the ability to attract good people to work with them,” Bolen said.

“They must have specific skills, commitment, leadership talent, be a visionary person, have responsibility and knowledge – not only ambition to become an entrepreneur,” he added.  “Having an entrepreneurship idea is good, but they have to maintain dignity and good behaviour because that is the capital to strengthen skills and knowledge when they want to open their own business.”

The third-placed winner of the National Entrepreneurship Award 2020, Chhim Chan Chhaya, owner of Hang March Farm in Takeo province, said that that to become an entrepreneur is not easy. He said it requires having an innovative idea and ownership.

“I have noticed that some young Cambodian people now want to run their own businesses because they see the media mentioning successful people and successful businesses. That encourages them to try. But if they do not have any experiences and knowledge of what they want to do, the chance of failure is high,” Chhaya added.

Oknha Dr Mengly J Quach, the founder of Mengly J Quach Education. Khmer Times

Chhaya says if the youths want to run their own business at a young age, they have to learn and draw experience first, consider their weaknesses and strengths, study the market, develop management skills, have good human resources and understand accounting, he added.

To build a resilient business, young Cambodians have to ask themselves whether they understand the business they want to do or not, whether they have the ability and knowledge to do it or not, said Chhieng Vanmunin, chief executive officer of Khmer Enterprise, the national platform for promoting entrepreneurial activities.

Vanmunin said, “For youths who have real ability and who want to run a business, they can do it. However, if they do not know their ability to run a business and follow other businesspeople, that is dangerous for society.”

Vanmunin said that young people must first learn what they want to do and do it until they are clear and aware of the job they want to do. They have to work for others for two to five years before they start thinking of running their own business.  He added that they must have the proper plan and skills to operate the business.

He added that youths have to work at another business at least three to five years to understand the whole process. “Doing business is not easy. They have to learn from big business and seek the right mentor to train them to make their business idea grow.”

Mengly, however, urged young Cambodians that if they want to run a successful business and become a successful entrepreneur, they have to learn, practise, save money, draw from experience  with a company to understand how the systems of one company work regarding management skills, human resources and operational management, learn how to manage the financial flow and technology, marketing and promotion and compliance with the law.

Mengly said there are three kinds of successful and rich people. First, those successful and rich people who have parental support. Second, successful business people who had an innovative idea and solutions to serve global needs. The third type of successful person develops by running a business with skill, knowledge and experience.


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