Navigating the Impact of COVID-19: A Story of Resilience from Cambodia's Small Business Owners.

Published: Mar 1, 2024 Reading time: 3 minutes
Vireak is at his fertilizer and agricultural equipment shop.
© Foto: Senghorng Sem

The outbreak of COVID-19 has dramatically changed our global society and economic environment. To control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we all imposed various preventative measure and taken policy, important for safety and health of communities, yet which have a strong negative impact on vulnerable small business owners with limited capacity for business continuity. In cambodia, most of micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSMEs), are affected by COVID-19 and demand for support to build resilience and capacity to endure in this disrupted business environment.  

Mr. Teang Vireak, a resident of Khan Dongkoa in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, leads a multifaceted professional life. As the proprietor of a fertilizer and agricultural equipment shop, he caters to the needs of local farmers and agricultural businesses, providing them with essential products and equipment crucial to their operations. Simultaneously, Mr. Vireak holds a position within another company, balancing the responsibilities of being both an entrepreneur and an employee.

His introduction to the project came through a friend, a connection that likely recognized the potential alignment between Mr. Vireak's business and the project's objectives. This unique perspective, straddling the roles of business owner and employee, likely affords Mr. Vireak valuable insights into agricultural practices and business management, making his involvement in the project particularly pertinent.

One of the primary motivations driving Mr. Vireak's interest in the project is his recent venture into entrepreneurship. Starting his business without prior knowledge, he seeks to enhance his understanding of crucial aspects such as digital marketing, debt management, loan acquisition, and overall financial management tailored to the needs of a small and medium enterprise. His desire to learn and grow in these areas aligns with the project's focus on providing support and knowledge to entrepreneurs like himself, making his participation both personally and professionally rewarding.

After receiving a small grant, he can buy more products for his shop. He has gained knowledge of proper business planning, revenue management, and digital marketing. Digital marketing helps more firms take advantage of more efficient means of promotion and advertising to reach more potential customers. “Using this kind of promotional I can reach more people to promote my product”. As a small and medium-sized enterprise that uses digital and social media marketing I can see that I have a better chance of expanding my customer based and retaining, Vireak says.

In today's business landscape, Mr. Teang Vireak emphasizes the significance of digital marketing as a powerful tool for businesses. Through digital channels like the internet, businesses can effectively engage with potential customers, expanding their reach and promoting their products or services. Mr. Vireak has experienced firsthand the positive impact of digital marketing, noting that it has enabled him to reach a broader customer base, with 60% of his customers now interacting with his business online.

As a result, he has found that he no longer needs to maintain a physical presence at his store throughout the day. Moreover, he has observed a steady improvement in his income, attributing this growth to the application of digital marketing strategies learned through training classes. This underscores the pivotal role of digital marketing in driving business success and growth in today's digital era. 

Vireak shared his thought: “I would like to express my appreciation as well as all my gratitude for all the support of organizations helping small businesses like my own. These new knowledge and resources contribute to the betterment of our society and economy”.

People in Need Cambodia, together with its local partners and with funding from the European Union, has the “Intergrated COVID-19 response for project urban setting in Phnom Penh” which aims to support poor urban areas in Cambodia to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. 

Autor: Senghorng Sem , Communication Officer

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