The first National Entrepreneurship Award 2020 ended last month with a fruitful achievement. Meanwhile, the government is looking to scale up and make the second National Entrepreneurship Award more attractive for next year, according to a senior executive of Khmer Enterprise (KE), an implementation unit of the Entrepreneurship Development Fund of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).
This year’s National Entrepreneurship Award was a collaboration between the National Institute of Entrepreneurship (NIEI), the Innovation of the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and Khmer Enterprise.
“The first National Entrepreneurship Award 2020 was a successful job with good collaboration between Khmer Enterprise and the NIEI,” said Chhieng Vanmunin, chief executive officer (CEO) of Khmer Enterprise. “The first award was conducted in a cost effective way and received applicants from 25 provinces and cities,” he added.
After the initial competition, KE and the NIEI worked with the all the 15 contestants in the final round. KE and the NIEI will support them in terms of training to shape their businesses to create more potential for them. There will be many programmes with the NIEI to support local entrepreneurs in the future.
The 15 contestants in the final round will form an alumni association and KE together with the NIEI will bring them to visit big and prominent and successful companies in Cambodia and will allow them to learn and seek collaboration with each other, Vanmunin said.
He added that for the second year of the National Entrepreneurship Award, KE will also consider having judges both from Cambodia and abroad, male and female, to have a good mixture and balance.
“Through the first entrepreneurship award we saw mixed-age contestants join in,” Vanmunin said. He added that mixed ages was a good sign because the older generation have strong connections and are aware of business models, but young contestants will offer new concepts of business and develop new attractive business models. Thus, they will create new products. “We saw existing businesses, re-modelled businesses and new businesses,” he said.
“We will set a different theme for the award every year. The theme for next year has not yet been decided – we are working on it,” Vanmunin added. “We want modern businesses in the future. We want to see the award winner supported by the public – not only their business model, but also supported with love and trust. Everyone can nominate a contestant if he or she has a good business. In the end, it will represent the nation. Moreover, the qualifier must possess deep knowledge and have a good business.”
The runner-up of the first National Entrepreneurship Award 2020, Thaung Thyda, the founder of Thaung Enterprise, a salt supplier in Kampot, said it is a good platform that shows the interest and support more toward entrepreneurial industries than the government sector. It enables the government to see the challenges and potential faced by small and medium enterprises in being a Cambodian entrepreneur.
Thyda said entrepreneurs are the backbone of the economy and the solution makers. Successful entrepreneurs always come up with an idea of how much they affect a community or
the whole of society.
“Regarding our Thaung Enterprise, since the beginning what we wanted to see was our farmers live better, where we could boost their revenues and lifestyles, to empower women in working life and also provide places for local producers in the community and opportunities for students to learn more about how being an entrepreneur would be for the better good,” he said, adding that because it was the first implementation for the national level, overall it had good elements even though there were some flaws that needed to be removed for the second round.