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Gov’t arm issues new round of support for local SMEs

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Khmer Enterprise (KE) said from February 1, it will accept applications from small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and start-ups that need capital to offset business and operational challenges amid Covid-19. Heng Chivoan

Gov’t arm issues new round of support for local SMEs

Khmer Enterprise (KE) said from February 1, it will accept applications from small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and start-ups that need capital to offset business and operational challenges amid Covid-19.

These, KE said in a press release, will be for the third iteration of its Khmer Enterprise Assistance Package (KEAP) programme, which targets sectors that have been severely affected by the pandemic such as agriculture, agro-processing, handicrafts, services and information and communications technology (ICT).

KE is an implementation unit of the Entrepreneurship Development Fund (EDF) established by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

It ran two iterations of its KEAP programme last year, during which it received 278 applications from across the capital and 18 provinces.

Through the ministry, KE provided around $400,000 to 27 SMEs and start-ups over the first two rounds, with individual funds between $5,000 and $20,000, for exclusive use in business operations over a maximum period of one year.

Ministry permanent secretary of state Vongsey Vissoth said the new round of aid packages would help SMEs and start-ups regain their footing and once again constitute the engines of the national economy.

“The government, through the EDF, as well as KE, aim to build a leading force to fight in the economic, trade, as well as technological battle by increasing competitiveness, business efficiency and creating added value for new and a greater number of economic catalysts in Cambodia,” he said.

KE CEO Dr Chhieng Vanmunin said the third iteration of the KEAP programme comes in a timely manner and would be a valuable tool for affected businesses to get back on track.

“KE welcomes financial partnerships from relevant institutions to use the KE aid package platform to build and promote the entrepreneurial ecosystem and economic restoration in Cambodia,” he said.

This third round of the programme will follow the same procedures as last year and will be divided into four phases.

In the first phase, KE will make announcements on Facebook, the media and through its network of partners to raise awareness of the programme and begin receiving applications.

In the second phase, applications will be screened using standardised criteria. In the third phase, selected candidates will be invited to make a presentation on their businesses and their budget management processes to a committee of experts, and in the fourth stage, aid packages will be awarded to the winning candidates.

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