A total of 1,834 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) have received loans from the Small and Medium Enterprise Bank of Cambodia Plc (SME Bank) through the SME Co-financing Scheme Phase II (SCFS II) as of May 31, cumulatively worth $221 million or 92 per cent of the total $240 million budget, according to the state-owned enterprise.

Priority sectors accounted for 43 per cent of the loans, and women entrepreneurs 30 per cent, SME Bank said.

SCFS II’s funds are provided by the government and participating financial institutions (PFI) on a 50-50 matching basis.

The budget was increased to its current amount in February, when the Ministry of Economy and Finance, seeing the positive results of SCFS II and additional need for financial support for SMEs, earmarked another $50 million for SME Bank to continue the scheme, a sum that was matched by the PFIs, according to SME Bank CEO Lim Aun.

The government launched the first phase of the SME Co-Financing Scheme (SCFS) in 2020, initially backed by a $100 million fund, likewise provided by the government and PFIs on a 50-50 basis. SCFS benefitted 753 SMEs, through 33 PFIs, according to finance ministry secretary of state Phan Phalla.