The government will hold its first National Entrepreneurship Award in June to promote entrepreneurship and innovation among young entrepreneurs, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and tech-startups across 25 provinces and the capital.
The National Entrepreneurship Award is a collaboration between the National Institute of Entrepreneurship (NIEI) and the Innovation of the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, Khmer Enterprise, under the Ministry of Economy and Finance. It is supported by the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industry and Handicraft.
Speaking at the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Khmer Enterprise and the NIEI to support National Entrepreneurship Awards 2020, Mel Pho, deputy director of the NIEI, said that the first National Entrepreneurship Award is new and the first time it has been awarded in Cambodia. The applications will announce early next month.
The award it is making is the national entrepreneurship award for 25 provincial and capital tech startups, services, agro-processing and agriculture for export and manufacturing.
“We want to promote entrepreneurship in Cambodia. Our award is designated by categories –agriculture, service-tourism, information and technology and manufacturing. The application will open in early March this year and the competition process will start in June,” Mel said.
“The first prize will receive $10,000, with a second prize of $5,000 and $3,000 for the third prize,” he added.
“The purpose of the national entrepreneurship award is to promote entrepreneurship, and innovation in Cambodia. We are trying to build the capability of entrepreneurs and SMEs and young startups, capability building through sharing experience, success and lessons from failures learned through entrepreneurship,” Mel continued.
“We support them through mentorship and building a network between young entrepreneurs, SMEs and young tech startups to link each other to exchange and cooperate and share lessons learned,” he said.
Mel added that it is the first platform hosting by the government, supported by the Ministry of Economic and Finance, through Khmer Enterprise and the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training; Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industry and Handicraft. He said that starting from 2020 the government will make this award annually to support and promote entrepreneurship and innovation.
“We plan for 500 applicants to participate in the award,” Mel added. “We do three months of the competition process in five zones – Siem Reap, Battambang, Sihanoukville, Svay Rieng province and Phnom Penh. The final round and announced winner will take place in Phnom Penh. After announcing the winner, we will continue coaching them. They will become advisers of the NIEI, guest speakers and judges,” Mel said.
“Our plan is to announce the winner in August for the final round. The competition will take place from June to August in the five zones. Khmer Enterprise will support the funds,” Mel continued.
Chhieng Vanmunin, chief executive officer (CEO) of Khmer Enterprise, the national platform for promoting entrepreneurial activities, said that it is the first time they have hosted this award across the country. “ it is an ambitious project to coordinate competitions in 5 zones covering 25 provinces and capital. Then the winners from each zone will compete the final round in Phnom Penh,” Chhieng added.
He said that it is a national-scale project, not only a national small project or national award. This award is also engaging entrepreneurs in the provinces to join in. “We have a relationship across the country to promote entrepreneurs, so the entrepreneurs in the provinces also have the opportunity, not just those in the capital,” he said.
“For this award, if the entrepreneur is good, has an innovative idea and is based in the provinces or city, we will take care of them. We will provide a platform for them to show their products and services,” Chhieng added.
“We also, help shaping their business to scale up to the regional level. If they do not have the ability to scale up, but their business model can grow regionally and internationally, we will help them. They can either work with the NIEI or Khmer Enterprise,” he concluded.