Eleven local women have successfully graduated from an online digital marketing training course from social media company Facebook. International development non-profit Pact Cambodia anticipates that they, in turn, will train up to 1,700 young Cambodian women entrepreneurs over the next three years.

On January 20, the Women Entrepreneurs Act project (WE Act), implemented by Pact Cambodia with funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), held a graduation ceremony for seven digital marketing trainers who undertook the programme from September to October. Four more graduates received certifications last August after completing the first training course from January to June.

Pact Cambodia said that by the end of last year, around 600 more women entrepreneurs had already participated in one-day training courses designed to provide “insight in basic online marketing, creating a business Facebook page, and good content and practices.”

According to Pact Cambodia, the WE Act project focuses on urban-based micro, small and medium businesses owned by women aged 18 to 30, addressing key challenges to their businesses through capacity development, network expansion, information sharing, access to finance and markets and training.

WE Act chief of party and Pact Cambodia country director Sabine Joukes said she was excited to partner with Facebook to introduce the digital marketing #SheMeansBusiness campaign in Cambodia.

“The programme will help women learn how to start and grow their businesses through the use of online platforms which have a lot of potential to make a business successful,” Joukes said.

Since the launch of #SheMeansBusiness in 2016, Facebook claims to have provided training for one million women in 38 markets around the world.

Hok Sreymom, co-founder of online language instruction facility Khmer Lesson and a graduate of the training course, told The Post on January 20 that the more knowledge people have about digital marketing, the more everyone, especially women, would gain exposure to the broader business market.

She added that business owners couldn’t continue doing their traditional business practices without embracing digital marketing.

“What I’ve learned is not just for myself. I can help other women who are in business to use digital platforms to boost their product sales. Our women should better utilise digital business because everyone uses a phone, and the opportunities are huge,” she said.

Private sector employee Ying Srey Pov told The Post that she had benefitted from the training course and was learning to integrate new technologies into her work.

“This training helped me to differentiate use of digital marketing techniques with each platform. Learning this is a great help and speeds up my work,” she said.

A joint press release from Pact Cambodia and USAID noted that prior to the Covid-19 outbreak last year, Cambodia’s economy had been growing rapidly by seven per cent annually, but growth was not equitable, leaving women and their economic prospects behind.

Women own more than 60 per cent of all businesses in the Kingdom, but 99 per cent of those are micro enterprises with 10 or fewer employees, it said.

Ruici Tio, Facebook’s policy programme manager for Asia-Pacific countries, said that when women succeed, everyone benefits.

“#SheMeansBusiness will not only connect entrepreneurial women with empowering tools, peers and networks, but will also raise greater awareness of the importance of women’s entrepreneurship for overall economic and social development,” Ruici said.