Increasing economic growth, reducing poverty
Title: Supporting MSMEs in Battambang Province, Cambodia
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Industry and Handicraft
Overall term: 2018 to 2021
The growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) has an important role to play in strengthening Cambodia’s economy. However, the country is only able to leverage some of the potential that a diverse, productive MSME sector offers rural and regional development. If this situation is to improve, key barriers to growth need to be overcome. These include a lack of diversity, an informal and deficient structure for resources, a weak entrepreneurial spirit that is largely found only in urban areas, a low level of technology and little local added value.
Although women make a significant contribution in the MSME sector, they are also still at a disadvantage, lacking equal representation in both management and employment in MSMEs. Across the economy, most women in Cambodia continue to be employed in low-wage jobs with little security, earning on average 30 per cent less than their male colleagues.
By improving their ways of working and their management methods, MSMEs are helping to boost the economic diversity and competitiveness of Battambang Province.
On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the project is strengthening the professional skills of employees, owners and founders of MSMEs in rural and suburban areas of Battambang Province, focusing on providing advice on designing and piloting training courses for MSME workers. Improving the technical and specialist skills of staff and the entrepreneurial expertise of managers at the MSMEs enhances the quality of their products and hones their competitive edge. Specific training programmes are also being created for female experts and managers and women owners of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Companies and training providers are joining forces to design development measures in line with changing needs and to propose them for funding from the Skills Development Fund set up by the Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance. Recommendations for action that are formulated based on the project’s activities are incorporated into day-to-day policy-making and sometimes serve as guidelines for national support mechanisms and training courses for MSMEs.
The project also helps private sector service providers to develop services, including consulting, that are relevant to MSMEs in an effort to come up with improved production methods or quality requirements for products and processes and implement them at selected MSMEs.
Training programmes for MSME owners, managers and employees are designed and made available in line with the requirements for skills enhancement. These develop their specialist and technical competencies and improve the productivity and competitiveness of their businesses, while coaching courses in business management and HR matters are intended to enhance overarching management skills. The project also works with local technical and vocational education and training institutions to enable them to develop and offer training courses that respond to the prevailing needs.
Regular fact-finding events and discussions with representatives from government and the administration are designed to help the target group to better exploit its potential and overcome barriers to market entry.
In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, the project involves people with disabilities to enable them to become economically independent.