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Smart kicks in $1 million to educate SMEs

Smart kicks in $1 million to educate SMEs

Malaysia-owned Smart Axiata, the leading mobile operator in Cambodia, donated $1 million to Impact Hub Phnom Penh to launch an online education program for local entrepreneurs to overcome Covid-19 challenges.

The free online course, which was launched on Thursday, is meant to help entrepreneurs overcome challenges. It is designed for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in need of solutions to improve business and build a resilient company.

Participants will learn how to assess their current business operations to adapt to changing circumstances and design and implement new plans.

Through the programme, entrepreneurs will learn about different ways to acquire additional funding, engage customers and remodel financial plans. The online classes are available on Impact Hub’s website and entrepreneurs can join any time at no cost.

Impact Hub managing director Olivia Hough said the goal of the “Business Resiliency for Startups” programme is to help entrepreneurs across Cambodia build sustainable and resilient businesses that can overcome crises such as the Covid-19.

“We are partnering with Spring Activator, a Canadian startup supporter, which has experience navigating through three recessions and has first-hand experience leading businesses through challenging periods of uncertainty and risk. We are contextualizing and translating the content to localize it for SMEs in Cambodia,” Hough said.

Smart Axiata CEO Thomas Hundt said SMEs are key for Cambodia’s economic growth and there is a need for strategies.

“We are very proud to support Impact Hub’s new business resiliency initiative. Growing startups and successful SMEs is essential to building a strong economy, especially during times when businesses face serious challenges as result of changes in the market, digitisation of the economy and the moving of activities online,” he said.

Business owners can access different online modules and participate in monthly online group calls with other entrepreneurs, according to Impact Hub.

They will also have access to videos, various exercises, resources and case studies from around the world. The online classes will take approximately 10 hours to complete and all successful participants will receive a certificate at the end of the course.

So far, Smart has funded 11 different initiatives through its Covid-19 Relief Fund, supporting programmes focused on distant education, hygiene, protective equipment for healthcare professionals, vocational training and access to finance for entrepreneurs.

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