The Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology, and Innovation in Cambodia is urging owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to bolster their capabilities. This move is aimed at transforming the businesses to be more inclusive and competitive within the regional market.

Heng Sokkung, secretary of state for the ministry, has highlighted that this change could also boost the country’s exports.

He observed that currently, only 18 of the nation’s SMEs are recognised as inclusive. Sokkung’s statements were made during the “Together for MSME Growth in Cambodia” sustainable business forum held on July 7.

Sokkung, who also heads a working group dedicated to sustainable business practices, asserted the importance of SMEs in socio-economic development.

“SMEs need to adhere to sustainable and inclusive principles,” he stated.

“The ministry encourages entrepreneurs in Cambodia to prepare for competitiveness as Cambodia leaves the status of a Least Developed Country (LDC),” Sokkung added.

The transition from LDC status is anticipated to occur in 2024, though it would not be fully effective until 2027.

According to Sokkung, an inclusive business is one that innovatively generates income while systematically addressing challenges faced by poor and low-income families.

After the upcoming general election, Sokkung predicts an increase in technology and mining sector investments, with the industrial sector expected to grow by 39 per cent by year’s end.

He further pointed out that Cambodia has created legal provisions and implemented investment laws to attract investors.

Sokkung added: “Cambodia will push forward on vocational training for 1.5 million youths in the next government mandate, in response to evolving human resource needs in the country”.

With an anticipated economic growth rate of 5.6 per cent this year, Cambodia’s SME landscape is primed for transformation. This spells a promising future for the Kingdom’s entrepreneurs, who are being called upon to rise to the occasion and meet the challenges of the global marketplace head-on.