Local tech startups discussed a possible reduction in the Ministry of Commerce’s business registration fees at a meeting on Saturday, to ease the initial financial burden on their businesses, given the difficulty in raising funds in Cambodia’s nascent tech market.
The meeting, organised by Impact Hub, a global network of entrepreneurs, investors and students, discussed easing the cost of starting a business and introducing policies to enable young entrepreneurs, as well the development of the high-speed Internet in the Kingdom and locally-developed apps.
Sarath Uch, co-founder of Inoover, which deals with digital marketing, website and mobile app development, said applying for a business license and registering with the tax department add to the costs that entrepreneurs have to foot upfront.
“When I started my first startup company, Snappy Shot, I tried to talk with Singaporean investors who were interested. But they asked me for a business licence, [but] we couldn’t afford to pay $1,000 for the cost,” Uch said.
He added that countries, like Malaysia, had lower registration charges for new businesses and said the Ministry of Commerce should take similar steps to encourage entrepreneurship.
Kruy Vanna, founder of keyboard app Khmer Smart Keyboard, who also spoke at the meeting, said that in order to raise finances from international organisations, like USAID, registering with the ministry helped his business raise capital, over the $9,000 he collected through crowd funding efforts.
“Before we didn’t want to apply for license, but we thought it would be easier to talk with other companies. We were able to receive $3000 from USAID because we had registered the business” Vanna said.
Sok Piseth, president at the Young Entrepreneur Association in Cambodia, said the ministry was working with startups to introduce more enabling policies to help them grow, as well as take the registration process online for all new businesses.
“I don’t think a startup fails because of the cost of registration fees, [because] if we compare to other countries I believe our registration fee is at a reasonable price” Piseth said.
The Ministry of Commerce spokesperson could not be reached for comment yesterday.