Before arriving in Cambodia, we thought that CleanTech was poorly developed. We thought we were discovering a country in reconstruction, not ready for entrepreneurship. We were wrong. We were positively surprised by the dynamism of the country and by all the entrepreneurs we met. We must admit it, a meeting marked us more than the others. Mélanie Mossard is not only a committed, passionate and full of energy professional but also an open-minded and kind person. She is Director of Venture Support at Impact Hub.
First, she explained us the context. It is impossible to talk about business in Cambodia without talking about its History. In the 70s, the country was devastated by the Khmer Rouge and almost 40% of the population died or was killed. If you want to know more about Cambodia’s History, we advise you to read a good article written by the Lonely Planet*.
After this period, Cambodia had one of the highest NGO per capita. The challenge was (and is still) to emancipate the country from donations and building real business models based on social and environmental care.
This is exactly what Impact Hub do. Their role is to inspire, connect and enable those who want to have a positive impact. When the organisation, present in more than 100 countries, established in Phnom Penh 3 years ago, there were no startup ecosystem. Their first mission was to identify talented and ambitious Khmer people and to support them to face Cambodia’s main challenges with a sustainable approach! Now, their network is well organised. The Impact Hub’s team helps early stage startups to validate their business model, find mentors, match them with opportunities and provide them access to financial ressources. They organise events to connect, inspire and learn new skills, but also programs to lead major projects with local people. They also made a mapping of social companies in Cambodia (link at the end of the article**).
If you are an entrepreneur who wants to expand its company in South East Asia, you should consider Cambodia. Firstly, because you will find all the support you will need with Impact Hub but also with all the social entrepreneurs you will meet over there. Secondly, because the energy and the dynamism of this country could surprise you. There are many opportunities in eco-building, waste management, water treatment, agriculture… and right now is the good moment!
PS: Special thanks to Mélanie, Kosoma and Monorom who welcomed us in their Impact Home! We spent a wonderful time with you :)
If you are interested in Impact Hub, feel free to contact us!
It would be a pleasure for us to introduce you to Mélanie.