Cambodia Women Entrepreneur Association (CWEA) is a private association dedicated to providing a representative platform for women in business. Its goal is to bring issues involving women to the attention of the government and media to boost business growth and open up networking opportunities for businesswomen.
In November last year, USAID organised “WE [Women’s Entrepreneurship] Next” to help female entrepreneurs improve their skills, strategies, leadership capacities and business management methods.
Dr Eng Lykuong, president of CWEA and a dentist at Master Care Dental Clinic sat down with The Post’s Cheng Sokhorng and gave an overview of the dynamics of the Kingdom’s female entrepreneurs and women’s growth in the economy, as well as the challenges the business sector faces with respect to government obligations.
What is the current status of CWEA?
CWEA represents women leaders in business and was set up in 2011, with the support of the World Bank and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Our vision is to support the growth of women-owned businesses in Cambodia which will make a meaningful impact on the Kingdom’s economic development.
We currently represent the voices of more than 500 registered women entrepreneurs and the figurecontinues to grow every month.
How do women in business benefit from CWEA’s activities?
Women now have a more updated understanding of how to connect with the business society and improve their capacities to reach the market.
They joined us for the business experience and to explore new things they can use to breathe new life into their businesses and grow them further.
This is a gathering of the business network, where they can hear from our guest speakers and experts that can boost their confidence and provide a sense of belonging and business synchronisation.
What are the main challenges you have observed of women in
business, and how can they be resolved?
Businesswomen in the city are very modern and have flexible schedules. However there are still challenges in the outskirts of the capital and in the provinces, where women still have to do housework, and have low education andlimited support from their families.
We make it our duty to promote businesswomen, so we are doing an orientation presentation in Siem Reap, Battambang, Mondulkiri and Kampong Cham provinces. We are planning to reach business women in remote areas and connecting with them to get to the bottom of their challenges.
What do they think about government requirements?
Following our survey, women in business are willing to comply with business laws, but they still hesitate to take the first step due to a lack of confidence and the overwhelming thought of fulfilling obligations such as business registration and tax payments.
It is also challenging for those who are less aware of how to fill out forms and comply with other procedures.
However, the new generation of women understands this well. Complying with government procedure will allow them to meet certification standards and qualify in the business market. They can obtain a lot of benefits such as better management, financial control as well as financial access.
They need assistance from the government and private agencies, better training on the preparation of procedural document as well as awareness of the benefits [of compliance] to boost their confidence.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.