The Kingdom has awarded at least 10 local companies as champions of what is known as the Inclusive Business Enabling Environment for Cambodia (IBeeC) model, which started last year, according to a senior official of the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation.
Heng Sok Kung, secretary of state at the Ministry of Industry, revealed the news and said another 40 companies are about to be similarly awarded.
“We have categorised different kinds of IB companies: existing inclusive business models and companies preparing to join the IB model,” Sok Kung added.
“The special nature of the IB model is to provide benefits to relevant stakeholders, such as farmers or other producers, individual companies and members of society or the government,” he said.
Inclusive businesses provide goods, services and livelihoods on a commercially viable basis, either at scale or on a scalable basis to people living at the base of the economic pyramid (BOP), making them part of the value chain of companies’ core business as suppliers, distributors, retailers or customers.
It is to serve the low-income market and make a profit at the same time. IB companies must innovate by applying novel business models or providing innovative solutions. While many firms work with or sell to
the base of the economic pyramid, only few provide them with relevant solutions to address poverty.
That means only few firms provide solutions that enable low-income people to earn substantially more than the market rate or buy, at affordable rates, goods and services relevant to overcoming poverty and exclusion. Only such companies can be called inclusive businesses.
Keo Mom, chairperson of LyLy Kameda, one of the companies to receive the IBeeC award, told Khmer Times that her company collects vegetables and fruits from farmers daily. She added her company has provided the capital, technique and support for farmers from their farms to the market.
“We received an IB business award 2019 also. The benefit is that our company brand is well known and we have participated in supporting society and farmers as they face the market after the harvest,” Mom said.
“At present, we have got support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on contract farming and we receive support from some development partners such as SNV (Netherlands Development Organisation) Cambodia.
“When we received the IB award, our brand became known not only in the domestic market but also in regional and international markets. We can compete with other companies or imported products. We buy three tonnes of vegetables daily from farmers including wax gourds, pumpkins, potatoes, okra, yard-long beans and others. Now, we work with more than 100 farmers in Kampong Cham, Preah Vihear, Koh Kong, Kandal and Kampot,” she added.
“Our business has operated for many years, but after they [the government] found that our firms have supported and boosted farmers living standards, they offered the IBeeC award to us,” Mom continued.
Secretary of State Sok Kung said Cambodia has requested Asean members to check the possibility of providing special preferential treatment to the IBeeC firms because these companies help society and promote the dignity and living standards of farmers and the government. He wants developed countries to provide special treatment to various IB firms by importing quotas of products duty free and remove all trade barriers.
“What we want is all the companies in Cambodia to consider transforming their business to the IB model because it benefits themselves, farmers, partners and society,” he added. “We are preparing an IB strategy for Cambodia and seek more input from IB firms, development partners and entrepreneurs and the private sector to make our strategy better for implementation in Cambodia,” Sok Kung added.