Tevy gears up for funding drive

Tevy gears up for funding drive

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William Merchant poses with a box of his trademark Magic Cool Khmer ties.

THE owner of a Siem Reap-based US-incorporated non-profit enterprise, The Tevy Foundation, is now preparing a major funding drive among the elite of the US computer industry.

The driving force behind the foundation is a former Nevada Microsoft business owner, William Merchant, who worked in pioneer Silicone Valley IT industries and owned a Microsoft business.

After a successful career in the computer industry in the US, Merchant and his wife moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand, almost four years ago.

In 2007 the couple moved to Phnom Penh, where Merchant taught information technology at the CIST school and at universities in the capital, and was also senior adviser for the Cambodian Computer Society.

But, after a visit to Angkor Wat he decided to call Siem Reap home and moved here in 2008.

He now runs his non-profit business from Siem Reap and his main revenue earner is the "Magic Cool Khmer Tie", devised by his wife.

The magic ties are styled on a traditional Khmer krama and use crystals and water to become a body cooler. Merchant says that "cool ties are used by UN forces for soldiers in extreme heat conditions".

Material for the cool ties is produced in weaving villages in Kampong Cham, mostly by women with infants or young children who can't work in the garment factories.

Merchant also has the support of several major Siem Reap hotels, where his ties are sold and in some cases given as gifts to guests.

But his philanthropic ambitions are bigger than his magic ties revenue, and in October he will return to the US to tap the consciences and pockets of wealthy computer pioneers, such as Bill Gates.

"I know Bill Gates, and the owners of Google, and others who are all connections from my computer days, and I want to convince theme how important it is to support the Cambodian people."

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