Mai Vireak/Phnom Penh Post
Chour Chheng, the director of Ky Chheng Protein Foods, speaks to the Post in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.
Phnom Penh Post reporter Rann Reuy sat down with Chour Chheng, director of Ky Chheng Protein Foods, to discuss the challenges of opening a small-to-medium-sized enterprise in Cambodia.
When did you establish this enterprise, and what products do you process?
The business was established in January, 1999. Initially, we produced only dry octopus, but later moved on to distribute beef and pork meat. We also process about five tonnes of mango and papaya each year. All our products are 100 per cent locally sourced.
What inspired you to undertake this career path?
When I was younger, my mother made sweets for children in the neighbourhood. After a couple of years, we worked together and developed packaging for the confectionary, in order to sell them on the market. Seeing the success of my product, I was encouraged to go abroad and develop new techniques in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
Were there many teething problems when the business began, and do you still struggle in any areas of the process?
There were so many difficulties when we set up the enterprise. Before we promoted any of our products, we undertook market research to ensure our products would be a success. We then had to learn the required techniques to process food to the correct standard, which was not an easy task. If we are unable to abide by the many regulations regarding the standard and sanitation of the food, our product will not sell.
Do any government policies benefit SMEs?
The government has some good policies to support SMEs. It doesn’t provide direct financial assistance, but smaller enterprises are not required to pay taxes, which benefits businesses like ours.
Do you plan on exporting any of the products you make?
We would like to export, but we feel the time isn’t right. Foreign companies have stricter demands on sanitation standards, which makes it difficult for Cambodian companies to ship their products to other countries. We used to participate in international goods expos, but we are still waiting to receive a standard certificate to export abroad.