Case Study Phnom Penh

The Phnom Penh entrepreneurial ecosystem can be described as nascent and yet it has strong potential, given the aspirations of the younger generation and the significant efforts being made by all the stakeholders involved in building the ecosystem. The last decade has seen the emergence of many successful local startups, which have subsequently evolved into large, sustainable brands such as Brown Coffee, Koompi, and Book Me Bus, to name a few examples.

This modern entrepreneurial scene is evolving alongside a strong effort by ecosystem builders and influential stakeholders in the private, development, and public sectors.

Despite these encouraging signs, many of these initiatives remain fragmented and coordination of services among stakeholders is still weak. Our reports highlights challenges and provides recommendations that the Phnom Penh Ecosystem shall overcome to further grow the ecosystem and make Phnom Penh a desirable place for local, regional and international entrepreneurs to start a business.

Key recommendation from the report:

1. For ESOs - Improve communication to better understand the evolving needs of diverse entrepreneurs and develop more tailored support services for entrepreneurs. Not all entrepreneurs are equal. While certain services can be generic and widely applicable, others need to be tailored to address the specific needs of entrepreneurs based on considerations such as type, stage, sector, gender, socio-economic status, and context.    

2. For Entrepreneurs - Build an entrepreneurial culture focused on peer exchange and mentorship. Every single entrepreneur accumulates a lot of intelligence on its journey. All of it is valuable resources, which other entrepreneurs could benefit from, if entrepreneurs connect and share experience and knowledge.  

3. For everyone - Share share share. Create stories and make noise of what is happening in your local ecosystem. Celebrate your achievement, get the word out about your local entrepreneurs and recognize the work of your unsung heros - organisations and people who support entrepreneurs day by day, week by week.

Yet, ecosystem building does not happen quickly. It will take a significant amount of time and effort on the part of many individuals and organizations to address the priorities identified in the study. However, Phnom Penh is ready for it. Looking back at the study and all the suggestions put forward by stakeholders in Phnom Penh, we have seen lots of passion, determination, and creativity of the actors. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes an ecosystem to feed, nurture, and raise successful entrepreneurs. Phnom Penh is on track to build this envisioned village, where coopetition beats competition, where ecosystems players motivate one another to be more productive by working together, while also safeguarding their individual competitive advantage.

For more detailed insights and  specific recommendations for each of the different entrepreneurial ecosystem stakeholders, download our full report.