At first glance Lim Seang Kheng might seem like an ordinary person. With three children to look after and a husband who runs a successful local company, she never does have much free time, but something she does have is a knack for business. Indeed, Seam Kheng has gotten three medium-sized enterprises off the ground – a clothes shop for kids and women, a restaurant and a school teaching Khmer, English and Chinese.
Seang Kheng, a kind person who never wastes a moment, enjoys the duties that come with being a mother and wife, and also volunteers doing social work when she can. “I enjoy a healthy, dignified and civilised life, and I want everyone to be able enjoy this with me, especially women,” Seang Kheng said.
“This desire is what originally got me involved with business, it is what drove me to start companies to offer jobs to a large number of women to help them support their families. As of 2014, at least 50 women have gained skilled jobs in my three companies.
“On average the women take home monthly salaries of at least $200,” she said. “In 2006 my friend and I opened a clothes shop named Jolly on Kampuchea Krom Boulevard. Some of the clothes offered by the shop, which catered to kids, we made ourselves and some were imported, such as Baby Kiko and Kiko Kids clothes.”
There are now three Jolly branches in Phnom Penh, and Seang Kheng and her partners are considering exporting Jolly-made garments overseas after the strong positive response they’ve received among locals.
“With new designs and with high-quality fabrics, we hope Jolly clothes will appear on the international market in the future,” she said.
After her success in children’s clothing, Seang Kheng opened a women’s clothes shop called Minoshe, which sells brands imported from Singapore such as Yong Hearts, Pierre Cardin and Sorella. “Currently, the shop has two branches in Phnom Penh. One is along Preah Sihanouk Boulevard. Both Minoshe and Jolly will launch new branches at AEOL Mall in June,” she added.
For her second business venture, Seang Kheng founded a school for children aged four and up. “In 2010 we received the franchising rights to open a Cambridge School, the original branch of which is in Singapore. We follow Singaporean standards and so far our Cambridge branch has more than 100 pupils. It teaches in three languages – English, Chinese and Khmer – and is recognised by the Ministry of Education,” she said. “Our instructors are quite talented and we use native speakers as teachers for all languages.”
Seang Kheng’s third business grew out of an interest she was able to indulge in as a mother: food. She opened the iFood restaurant east of Olympic Stadium.
“At iFood we have myriad courses the same as other eateries, so we’ve got you covered whether you’re after breakfast, lunch or dinner. IFood also has its own new courses and they are very popular among our customers.
Among the best-selling are iFood soup, iFood beef and iFood noodles.”
“IFood beef is extremely popular because it is the newest food created in Cambodia. We use little slices of beef and mix them with vegetables to eat with our iFood soup. In the evening these are both very popular, especially among families and work colleagues, as well as other large parties. I’m preparing to open a new iFood branch in the near future.”