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Small and medium-size businesses to introduce clusters

The Federation of Associations of Small and Medium-size Enterprise of Cambodia (FASMEC) will cooperate with the Thailand-based Mekong Institute to train master teachers in an effort to implement a small and medium enterprise (SME) cluster and export consortia in the coming years, according to officials.

The two-day workshop will focus on the extention of economic efficiency through the monitoring of production, costs, operations and marketing in SME clusters, ultimately leading to export consortias.

Te Taing Por, president of FASMEC, said that SME clusters is a new strategy which would enable Cambodia’s SMEs to be remain competitive as the country evolves into the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015.

“It is a difficult path faced by Cambodia’s SMEs in terms of competitiveness when compared with other nations’ [goods] that are being exported to world markets. This program is about human resource development, to strenghten the capacity of SMEs in Cambodia by preparing them for a more competitive marketplace.”

Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, program manager for Trade and Investment Facilitation at the Mekong Institute, said that this project was implemented in February with a grant from New Zealand Aid. The project will last for three years and cost US$ 3.5 million.

“This aid is focused on the implementation of the projects in four countries – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam – CLMV, because these countries are new members to the ASEAN community, who face more challengs than the older members in the SME field,” he said.

The Mekong Institute has cooperated with key partners such as the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Energy (MIME), Ministry of Commerce, FASMEC, Cambodian Women’s Association and Cambodia-India Entrepreneurship Development Center (CIDC), according to Dutta.

“After training them, they will take their knowledge and train their staff in their enterprises and associations. In 2013, we we will organise an investors forum in Bangkok and invite all of them to participate,” he said.

“If this project is successful, we will extend to it a few years after this project has finished,” he continued.

Lay Navin, deputy general director of Industry at MIME, said Cambodia had around 37,000 independently-run SMEs registered with the ministry.

She said that separated operations resulted in extra costs because small orders for raw materials were expensive, and independent SMEs lack the capacity to meet market’s big-scale demands.

“MIME has projects to cluster SMEs in the country and now the Mekong Institute’s help have a project to cluster SMEs in the region under the cover CLMV,” she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com

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