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Catholic ranked among Cambodia's top entrepreneurs

Sorn Meak leads the Coco de Takeo enterprise supported by the Catholic Church

Sorn Meak, a Catholic entrepreneur was among the top ten small and medium-sized (SME) Cambodian entrepreneurs.

Sorn Meak, a Catholic entrepreneur was among the top ten small and medium-sized (SME) Cambodian entrepreneurs. (Photo: Catholic Cambodia) 

Published: November 20, 2023 08:41 AM GMT

Updated: November 20, 2023 08:59 AM GMT

A Catholic entrepreneur has been listed among the top ten business personalities in Cambodia and became one of the finalists of the National Entrepreneurship Award this year, says a report.

Sorn Meak of Coco de Takeo was among total 20 small and medium-sized (SME) Cambodian entrepreneurs selected from various provinces in the country. The award was given out at a hotel in the capital Phnom Penh on Nov. 15, Radio Veritas Asia (RVA) reported on Nov. 18.

The Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation established the annual award in 2020 to raise awareness about the important roles of SMEs in Cambodia and to strengthen and expand public-private partnerships and social responsibility through building the future of entrepreneurship in Cambodia.

Meak runs a handicrafts business that includes weaving products from silk, coconut​ shells, and banana trees, as well as processed products from coconuts such as coconut oil, soap, coconut candy, flower baskets, and so on.

The business center is based at Chamkar Teang village, Kous commune of Takeo province in southern Cambodia.

Meak said that he gained valuable insight and acquired new experiences from entrepreneurial partners who possessed the capability to enhance his program during the competition.

"Today I think Coco de Takeo really won. We won over what we thought was impossible, and we have reached the top 10,” Meak said.

He said the experience and suggestions from the selection committee will help him develop strategic plans to sustain financial stability and improve leadership skills.  

Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler, the apostolic vicar of Phnom Penh, co-sponsors and supports Coco de Takeo, RVA reported.

​Chandara Chhen, the first prize winner and director of Battambang Jasmine Rice Refinery, said that this program has encouraged local entrepreneurs to expand their companies, especially during the ongoing economic crisis.

“In this competition, we see that in developing countries like Cambodia, there are innovative entrepreneurs who are creating a driving force for economic growth,” he said.

Sour Heng, Minister of Labor, urged all participants to further fortify their endeavors to contribute to the well-being of their families, employees, and national economy.

"Entrepreneurs must share income [from] their activities not only for themselves but also for the nation in order to develop, support the community, and also help the environment," said Heng.

Cambodia’s economy was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is now on the road to recovery, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The national economy is projected to grow by 5.3 percent this year.

Between 2009 and 2019, the poverty rate dropped from 33.8 percent to 17.8 percent, the World Bank reported. The pandemic, however, pushed millions of Cambodians into poverty.

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