More than 200 invited guests participated in Cambodia’s second ICT Tech Startup and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Forum on May 7, as the importance of SMEs across ASEAN continues to drive job creation and technology development across the region.

Held at the Himawari Hotel in Phnom Penh, this year’s event was held to create strategies alongside policies for the betterment of support given to ICT Tech startups and SMEs in Cambodia.

In his opening speech, the Minister of Industry and Handicraft Cham Prasidh stressed the importance of using digital systems as the key force to develop Cambodia’s digital economy. He urged the Kingdom’s SMEs to leverage the use of technology, bring their business network to a global level, take products to international markets.

He noted that the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft aims to support SMEs through creating beneficial ecosystems for SMEs and startups to flourish, update industry regulations, and help secure beneficial investment opportunities.

Discussion topics at the forum covered the important topics of public-private coordination, government regulations, tax, financing and fundraising, and support programmes to strengthen SMEs and startups,

Secretary of State at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications Kan Chanmathea, in the closing speech, said that the needs of SMEs and startups were known to the government, and that work was being done to help and strengthen the situation. He said that NIPTICT and his ministry were working together to fund a supporting programme – Capacity Building and Research Development (CBRD) — to provide mentorship, funding, incubation and acceleration to new business startups to handle e-commerce and issues in the digital sectors.

The 2018 forum was a collaboration with six government ministries — Posts and Telecommunications; Economy and Finance; Industry and Handicraft; Commerce; Education, Youth and Sport;  and Labour and Vocational Training — and was supported by Eurocham Cambodia and Smart Axiata.