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Business skills help budding entrepreneurs in rural Koh Kong

CARE’s Young Women in Business project is all about helping women to seize opportunities to improve their lives. Hor Chhanthon, 30, who runs a small grocery shop from her home in a village in Koh Kong province, did exactly that after participating in the project’s small business training.

Chhanthon’s shop had been small and she had not kept any record of expenses, something she was able to change after learning about record keeping. “I am now able to keep track of what items I have in stock, which is good as I no longer order stock that will be wasted,” she says.

The training also included a focus on business mapping and identifying potential markets, which is where Chhanthon saw her opportunity. A paper company had recently opened close to her house―she realised that she had a large pool of potential customers with no competition in the area. At the same time, her husband gained a promotion at this company to distribute salaries, so he had good connections with many of the workers. Chhanthon is now planning to make the most of this by expanding their range of goods and offering credit to those working at the factory to encourage them to buy from her store.

In addition to her growing village store, the budding entrepreneur also breeds chickens and has just started pig raising as well. This last activity Chhanthon chose as a result of learning about doing a cost-benefit analysis from the project. “I realised that pig raising offered a good income compared to other work and I had also gained skills from the livestock training offered by CARE. I understand the need for feeding my pigs well and the importance of vaccinating them against diseases so that I can raise healthy animals that will fetch me a good price.”

Her sound grasp of business planning is one of the reasons that Chhanthon was a winner of the project’s ‘Dragon’s Den’ competition, which offered match-funded loans for promising business ideas. Having obtained a mother pig so she can raise and sell the piglets, Chhanthon is now hoping to focus on purchasing additional supplies for her shop when they start offering credit.

Chhanthon is very happy that she has been able to improve her family’s income while also remaining at home to care for her two young children. With the support of her husband, who helped develop her winning business proposal and also shares the work around their home, she says she is very confident about the success of her new venture.

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