Local businesswoman Elida Kimsrun was the sole Cambodian selected to join over 700 entrepreneurs from around the world at the prestigious Global Entrepreneurship Summit in the United States last month.
Fresh from her visit, the 37-year-old managing partner of Camcona Trading (Cambodia) Co Ltd told the Post she hopes to convey the lessons she learned at the Silicon Valley event – whose speakers included Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google for Entrepreneurs director Mary Grove, and US President Barack Obama – to aspiring entrepreneurs in Cambodia.
According to Kimsrun, Cambodia’s entrepreneurs are bubbling with creativity and innovative ideas, but their potential to develop the country is underutilised.
“Entrepreneurship plays an important role in driving rapid economic growth, yet by comparison Cambodia’s entrepreneurial progress is still limited,” she said. “The government should develop policies to encourage and support them.”
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) is held annually to showcase emerging entrepreneurs and provide them with a platform for networking, insight and investment opportunities. This year’s GES participants were selected from over 5,000 applicants.
Kimsrun said it was a “rare privilege” to be selected as Cambodia’s representative at the GES, and suspects she was chosen because her company’s products promote clean energy use.
In her application, she highlighted Camcona Trading’s local distribution of a range of Rinnai brand solar and gas water-heating systems and a plan to encourage more use of the energy-saving appliances.
“Most of the successful applicants at GES were those in businesses that were not focused on profit, but rather on contributing to their community and improving the environment,” she observed.
Kimsrun, who holds a master’s degree in business administration, started Camcona in 2014 having previously worked for nine years in the financial sector.
According to Kimsrun, the GES event strengthened her understanding of what entrepreneurs need to succeed. She said most of the participants were confident, exhibited leadership skills and never abandoned their business dreams, even when they failed.
“There are four key factors for any successful entrepreneur, namely: have a mentor to discuss ideas, build a business network, find an investor to expand the business, and improve skills through training,” she said.
If entrepreneurs have a concrete business plan and are confident in it, investors will come, she added.