Keisuki Kon, a young entrepreneur from Japan, sees Cambodia as an investment destination with massive potential, even if it’s one that’s not quite ready to reach full blossom. In the meantime, he says, young Cambodians must develop their skills to support the needs of foreign companies as they rapidly enter the Cambodian market.
“Some companies asked me, ‘How were you able to get qualified personnel for us? We’re happy to hear that,’” Kon, CEO of CamUp Job Agency, says. “One time, a company gave us just two weeks to find it some highly professional, skilled staff for them. Finally, we got the staff members they needed, and the company was able to run smoothly.”
Keisuke Kon, 28, left home in Tokyo and spent 18 months researching business opportunities in Southeast Asia. He finally he decided to start a recruitment agency in Cambodia. He named it CamUp Job Agency, and the business opened its doors in April 2013.
“Since its formation, Cam-Up Job Agency has placed more than 15,000 candidates with companies,” Kon says. “We have about 200 companies as clients. They all need to get the right person for their field from our candidate roll.”
During an interview last week at his office on Samdech Pan Street, Kon explained that his company, with a staff of 20 Cambodians and two Japanese nationals, is “very young, but it’s very active and strong”. The role of agency is to search for and select qualified candidates to supply to private companies.
“CamUp Job Agency is trying our best to select the right person for the right job,” he says, adding that half of the company’s clients are local and half foreign-owned.
“We want our company to be the first recruitment agency companies think of,” Kon says. “Right now, our company is near the top of people’s lists.”
He describes Cambodia as having the potential to recruit talented young people, but as the situation stands now, they must improve their professional skills. He believes this means they must work harder.
“I would like to encourage all young Cambodians: you must invest time to improve yourself,” he says. They must concentrate and choose their education path carefully.
Kon says he discovered his business opportunity with the help of an older former college classmate, who introduced him to the Kingdom.
From that point, he began to think about the country and started doing his own research. His first visit to Cambodia was in 2012 and he quickly settled on Phnom Penh as the city to do business in. In 2013, he rented an apartment.
“From my apartment, I start fleshing out my business plan,” he says. “Step by step, I started to recruit a Cambodian staff to work for me. They underwent extensive training and now some of them are group heads and supervisors.”
All in all, he is glad he chose Cambodia.
“Since my first arrival in Phnom Penh, I saw a country that is very different from the others. It’s looks like a very young nation, very energenic. I strongly feel that this country will develop 100 per cent in the future,” Keisuke adds. “That’s my impression.”