A combination of grit, ambition and a long held desire to succeed has made Am Veasna an outstanding businesswoman in the IT sector.
Her success even grabbed Facebook’s attention last year when she was one of the 11 Cambodian businesswomen selected for the Facebook “Boost Leader Network” – another accomplishment for the single mother.
As a young student, Veasna, inspired by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, wanted to become a journalist, but the passing of her father when she was only seven derailed those dreams.
Nevertheless, she went on to overcome early adversity to a build a rewarding career by establishing in 2007 her own company – BCS Computer – which specialises in IT hardware and software, consultancy services, office supplies and photocopying on Kampuchea Krom Boulevard.
“My mother supported the family by selling groceries. I had a lot of responsibilities being the eldest child, and my family was not wealthy.
“In 1999, I joined a photocopy shop, where my duties involved photocopying, binding books, selling office supplies and checking stock,” said the 39-year-old Veasna.
Her entrepreneurial journey in the male-dominated field wasn’t easy. For seven years she worked hard learning about computer technologies and IT-related business at her workplace, while at the same time taking care of her young daughter.
After learning the tricks of the trade and raising $700 working capital – her own savings plus borrowings from relatives – she left her job to kick-start BCS Computer.
“At first I was not familiar with IT, but I studied and researched to improve myself. Over time, I became more skilled with repair work and familiar with products such as spare parts.
“With these experiences and skills I felt confident enough to start my own business.
“At BCS Computer we sell all kinds of digital office products, such as printers, computers and office machinery. Our company’s motto is: ‘One stop for all digital missions’. We keep our business operating until 9.30pm to serve our customers,” said Veasna.
The entrepreneur used Facebook’s digital marketing to build a resilient business, something that helped her overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, while many businesses suffered.
“Covid was a threat to our business too, but I came up with new strategies focusing on increasing online sales. I ensured my Facebook page was working well, responded to customers quickly and provided online solutions and the remote repair of computers. This helped to lessen interaction with customers directly.
“Facebook identified 11 entrepreneurs to encourage businesswomen, and among them was BCS Computer because I used Facebook’s digital marketing extensively for my business during the pandemic.
“I was very excited to be selected among the 11 women entrepreneurs and proud that BCS Computer was also selected as a model for using digital marketing in Cambodia. Facebook’s digital marketing is keeping our business active.
“They help in updating new things quickly and we can learn new technologies on time to improve our page. BCS Computer was chosen as a model in Cambodia to show how a female entrepreneur uses Facebook to turn in-store sales into digital marketing,” she said.
As well as building her business, Veasna also channels her entrepreneurial energies into social good by training young people, after realising there were limited skilled IT workers in the market.
Veasna said: “As an entrepreneur, a big challenge for me is to spend a lot of time doing research to keep up with the development of new technologies that require a lot of attention to make it easier to sell to customers.
“Another challenge is that it can be hard to recruit people with strong digital skills. So I started to provide training for my staff, especially inexperienced employees who joined my company.
“I have helped to produce more than 100 IT professionals through hands-on training for new recruits and providing internships for students. I plan to extend the training course for three to six months in the future because I have noticed there are
not many professionals in the technology field.
“Of course, my major success is focusing on customer service. If our service is not good, it will affect our business, so we focus on providing the best customer service with responsibility, and we have professional staff to solve all kinds of problems.”
Veasna has created a friendly and enviable work culture for motivating her staff by offering training in digital technology to enhance their skills and incentives to dedicated workers.
“I always give my employees the opportunities to train themselves to become strong leaders. My company is a good training ground, and I offer incentives to hardworking staff.
“I urge women entrepreneurs not to be discouraged when things do not go well, especially during something unprecedented like the Covid pandemic.
“We know that families and businesses face challenges, but we must remain positive and seek solutions. If we are discouraged, we will not be able to move forward – no matter how big the problem is, there is always a way out,” Veasna said.