Sovannaphum Life Assurance Plc has teamed up with Lady Saving Group to turn its corporate social responsibility (CSR) into the perfect platform to showcase the company's dedication to empowering women entrepreneurs by providing micro-loans to expand their businesses.

Sovannaphum Life celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8 by hosting the "2023 Women Run 10K" – part of the company’s flagship CSR project for this year.

The run – themed “Women in Leadership” – was organised by the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and sponsored by Sovannaphum Life.

Sovannaphum Life has pledged to contribute 4,000 riel for each registered runner to fund its CSR initiative to assist businesswomen involved in micro-enterprises.

Around1,600 runners took part in the 10km run that started in front of Phnom Penh's Wat Botumvotey Park, while fun-loving families and kids ran a shorter 4km race.

“It is time to remember and acknowledge women’s contributions to their communities and the economy.

"Providing micro-loans is part of Sovannaphum Life’s CSR projects that are in line with the company’s philosophy of giving back to society and our commitment to gender equality.

“We hope our efforts will inspire more women to enter the business world to become financially independent,” said Sovannaphum Life CEO Loke Kah Meng.

Sovannaphum Life has teamed up with Lady Saving Group, part of the non-profit organisation Women Entrepreneurs Act, to offer micro-loans to five women operating small-scale enterprises.

“It is good to see private companies stepping up their efforts in providing small loans to women entrepreneurs in Cambodia.

"These projects are motivational to the women's business community and encouraging other women to venture on their own.

“Women entrepreneurs are making a significant impact, not only on their families but on local communities. They are also becoming an important player in nation-building,” said Lady Saving Group Co-Founder and Strategy and Programme Manager Virak Bonnarath.

Lady Saving Group works towards lifting up the socio-economic status of women entrepreneurs by hosting training programmes on leadership and entrepreneurship, mentoring and financial literacy.

Sovannaphum Life will allocate $2,000 for the CSR project, of which $500 will be given to the organisation to finance Lady Saving Group’s regular activities, while five businesswomen will each receive $300 in interest-free loans.

Borrowers are required to repay the amount within 10 months, with the money then redistributed to other deserving businesswomen.

The third small-scale businesswoman to benefit from Sovannaphum Life’s CSR project is 38-year-old But Rasin, who runs Mak Nom, an online bakery from her home in Phnom Penh's Phum Rorka, in Khan Dangkor's Sangkat Prey Sar.

“The $300 loan will help me to buy additional baking equipment to increase my production and promote my bakery to more customers.

“More Cambodian women are gaining recognition for their struggles and successesin running small businesses, and Sovannaphum’s loan assistance will encourage more to venture into business and become independent,” said Rasin, a mother-of-two.

Sovannaphum Life is offering runners who took part in the "2023 Women Run 10K" special discounts of up to 20 per cent for its premier product – SMILE Life Solutions.

This offer is valid until March 31, 2023.