Female business owners from 20 handicraft and agricultural enterprises who are members of the Women’s Farm Association will receive loans from state-owned Small and Medium Enterprise Bank of Cambodia Plc (SME Bank).
The loans will be offered at a low interest rate of 5.5 per cent with amenable conditions to restore their business after Covid-19.
This plan was announced during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the SME Bank and the Women’s Farm Association on July 4.
SME Bank CEO Lim Aun said the SME Co-Financing Scheme (SCFS) consisting of $340 million was designated for priority sectors which were identified by the government. The sum was broken into two phases – $100 million (Phase I) and $240 million (Phase II).
Phase III – also called the Tourism Recovery Co-Financing Scheme (TRCS) – which is a project to support businesses involved in the tourism value chain, amounted to $150 million. It started in July.
“The three phases, including the bank’s $500 million direct loan, have helped many sectors, with the provision of women’s financing being a priority and encouraging more by offering special conditions, like lower interest rates compared to that offered to male entrepreneurs,” he said.
So Kunthy, Women’s Farm Association board chairman, said the MoU was to enhance and support enterprises, which are mostly led by women.
They are made up of Women’s Farm Association members, who will receive “more special conditions” from SME banks than other banks that they are used to borrowing from to develop their business.
Kunthy said SME Bank is a bank that not only provides loans to women entrepreneurs, but also studies the consequences and listens to the business problems that they face.
The SME Bank also does not have strict conditions like other banks.
“SME Bank has seen the situation faced by each woman-owned business and understood the difficulties that they face, so our cooperation will facilitate more of the existing bank terms and conditions,” she said.
Currently, the association which is more than five years old, has members from the capital, provinces and towns.
Activities by women farmers play an important role and act as a driving force for economic stability, job creation, innovation while promoting a competitive business environment.