Three years ago this September, our team was working earnestly to develop a program that would help aspiring and current business owners elevate their entrepreneurship skills and their capacity to run a business. Our goal was to increase the number of social enterprises in Siem Reap, diversify the local economy, and ultimately provide more jobs to young people in search of skilled work. We spent months identifying the right personnel and establishing a key network of mentors and incubator programs to help us shape our curriculum and approach. Through the support of USAID’s PACT Cambodia program, we launched our Youth Innovators’ Space and Incubator (YISI) Program in December 2020.
You can learn more about the program and its purpose through our YISI introduction video:
Since YISI’s inception, we have provided in-depth support to 141 aspiring or active entrepreneurs in advancing their IT skills, their business acumen, and their network and resources.
As we close out the third year of running the YISI program, we wanted to check in with some of our alums to learn how participating in YISI impacted their businesses and their livelihoods. For this blog post, we are featuring updates from alums Konhing, Phanit, and Vangdy.
“My name is Konhing . I am 28 years old. I was born in Ta An village in Siem Reap Province. In addition to earning my MA’s degree in Business Administration, I joined YISI Program’s Social Enterprise Incubator Course. I wanted to learn about business management, strengthen our business plan, and increase our product’s potential.
My business is TAAN WEAVES; named after my village and to honor my mother and the other weavers. I created this business in cooperation with a villager to enhance the culture of weaving and opportunities for women to support their families.
Before I joined the YISI program, I did not know much about business or what we wanted to promote, but when I joined the YISI program, I connected with a business network, learned tools and ideas to market and manage our business, and became more aware of tracking and managing personal finances and business finances.
At YISI, I learned how to write content for promotional media. After I finished the YISI program, worked on finding the right words to promote and engage with customers. My business is focused on older people working in the countryside. Sometimes, it is hard, but I learned to overcome it by seeing other posts (through our lessons on looking at the best competitors) and improving myself.
My advice to other young people is to make sure you know what you want and work on your business skills. Please start small; don’t start big. Learn step by step. Set your precise goal, love your business, and make your product unique.”
To learn more about TAAN Weaves and view their products: Taan Weaves
“My name is Vangdy, and, before I joined YISI, I was a tiger balm business owner in Siem Reap. While at YISI, I worked on making my business plan for DD Fashion which is my new tailoring business. In YISI my mindset, critical thinking, social media communications, and business standards improved a lot. The program helped me to process my business plan in each stage. The most important thing I have accomplished in the course was strengthening my skills, learning more about myself and business tools management, and setting goals for our business to grow.
Despite being very busy with my business and classes and university, I was able to learn so much to improve my mindset and to set a business plan. Through my old and new business, I provide jobs to my community and provide skills that can support their living even if they are from a low-income family.
My advice to the current and future Youth Innovators is to work hard to complete the program. Please stay focused, believe in yourself, learn from the program, and apply what you learned for your business. Thank you, YISI team, for having a good program and for connecting me with other entrepreneurs and all the YISI team members.”
To learn more about DD Fashion: DD Fashion
“My name is Phanit Son, I am the business owner of Clean & Care Service in Siem Reap. I heard about the YISI program on Facebook, and I applied for the IT for Business Course and was selected for the IT for Business Professionals Courses. When I started at YISI, I already started up my business. I joined the program because I wanted to learn about marketing tools that could support my business related to digital marketing and content creation.
AT YISI I learned graphic design, such as Canva for graphic design and logos. Additionally, I learned how to be more creative in posting on Facebook and networking. During the YISI program, I grew personally and professionally, met other entrepreneurs and mentors, and networked to promote my business.
I encourage other entrepreneurs to join any program YISI has. Also, please expand your network while you are on the course. Continue learning and networking to improve our community and give back to society.”
To learn more about Clean & Care Service: Clean and Care Services
We hope you enjoyed hearing from our inspiring alums. If you would like to learn more about the YISI program or have any additional questions, we welcome you to contact us any time.
Supporting PEPY means you are supporting local businesses and small business owners in Siem Reap. Please donate today to help us continue running our crucial programs!