Search form

Youth of the week: Kouch Sokly

Youth of the week: Kouch Sokly


Kouch Sokly. Photograph: Phnom Penh Post

Do you love drinking coffee at the café T&C, or hanging out  with friends at Pizza World and BB World? Would you believe that those places were made by a young guy?

At the age of 35, Kouch Sokly has changed his life dramatically. The third child of a bakery owner in Phnom Penh has become a highly successful businessman: the managing director of Cambodia Best Meal Company (CBM) which owns restaurants, bakeries and cafes in the city.

Besides T&C, Pizza World and BB world, Sokly also manages Tous les Jours bakery, Khmer Food Restaurant and The Asian Kitchen.

His working life started at 17, when Sokly quit his school and became a tour guide in Phnom Penh.

“Quitting study at that time was not because of my parents could not afford for my study, but because I wanted to make some achievements in my life,” he said.

He added that his mother did not really agree with his decision at first, but he won her over and she and his family began to support him.

His time as a tour guide did not last long.

Sokly and one of his colleagues decided to open their own business. He and his friend put in $500 each  to begin with and the business became so successful that Sokly could afford to open new businesses: BB World and T&C café.

Some people told him it was impossible. Cambodian people at the time knew only small coffee shops that sold coffee for 1000 to 2000 riel per cup and he decided to open a shop where coffee costs a dollar but comes with air conditioning and Wi-FI, he said.

Sokly did not take heed of his critics and went by the mantra: “If we go one step before the others, we will have more luck than the others, if the time is right.”

His business became so successful he opened Pizza World and Khmer Village. Recently he opened a new bakery: Tous les Jours and told Lift that he would open The Asian Kitchen.

The first time he started running a business, handling the finances was the biggest challenge, Sokly said. Fortunately his work was successful enough to keep the money flowing in.  

“When I was stuck with a problem, I often told myself that every obstacle is a lesson and experience. For me, facing a problem and solving it is like being presented with a question and answering it.”

Despite being busy running his businesses, Sokly still actively contributes to the society. He profits from business, but also spends his money funding education institutes that need support.

He has also been elected as the National President of Junior Chamber International Cambodia.

“Though I stand high, others are still left poor at the bottom, so my position has no meaning. I would like to work to improve our society.

“First I want to open a school that can improve the education system in Cambodia and put the profits from that towards helping poor students. My other big dream is to open a hospital that could make Cambodian people’s health better and better.”


  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all