Cheryl: Encouraging Cambodian youth to become impact-driven entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur, you probably have more than enough work to keep you busy.  There will always be fires to put on, whether you’re an experienced entrepreneur with a number of firms under your belt or getting ready to launch your first startup.

Nevertheless, despite your busy schedule, you should constantly find time to develop not only your own business but also the community in which it operates.

Cambodia is seeing a boom in innovation and entrepreneurship. There are many start-up consultants in the country, but very few of them are focused on impact ventures and venture building.

The essence of entrepreneurship is finding actual solutions to problems. Social and impact-driven entrepreneurship might be the best kind of entrepreneurship because it focuses on significant issues that humanity faces.

I had the privilege of meeting Cheryl, a consultant for the startup ecosystem in Cambodia and Head of Venture Building / Program for Impact SME (PRISME) Lead at Platform Impact. She works with the global community to connect and build impact ventures with relationships that could help build business linkages or investor fundraising opportunities. 

Cheryl is focused on building and creating better and equal economic development opportunities, strengthening local communities and tech startup ecosystems, and supporting young entrepreneurs.

Surya Narayan, Founder, The Better Cambodia with Cheryl

Through inclusive entrepreneurship, community wealth development, and integrated capital, she aims to empower talented but undervalued individuals and communities to grow the economy that will last generations. 

Cheryl stated during our conversation that her goal is to improve people’s quality of life by supporting start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses in growing their businesses. She is working alongside impact-driven entrepreneurs in their journey through venture building in Cambodia to help them develop businesses, local economies, and even entire infrastructures that might lead to longer-term profits or prosperity. 

Through Platform Impact, she primarily advocates and supports entrepreneurs to develop impact driven enterprises where they can be a financially self-sustaining organization with clearly defined social and/ or environmental mission. The enterprise draws upon business techniques and approaches to generate the revenue streams needed to achieve financial self sufficiency. Most of the financial surplus of an impact driven enterprise should be reinvested for greater social and environmental impacts rather than distributed for private financial benefit.

Cheryl puts value in inspiring and empowering change makers and she is identifying and actively exploring opportunities to contribute to society. Capital, which is required from idea to exit, is without a question the most crucial component in assisting local entrepreneurs succeed.

For some entrepreneurs who do not come from more affluent backgrounds and cannot rely on a “rich uncle” to support their enterprise, grants are essential in opening doors. Cheryl assists those entrepreneurs of the future developing sustainable business models with locating seed money through investors or grants. 

On the investment side, she is pushing for traditional investors to dedicate at least 10% of their portfolio to impact-driven enterprises where they are not looking to maximize their profits but to tackle a societal problem, while still ensuring investors still get their return on investment.

Through the conversation with Cheryl, I discovered that while some ecosystems appear to be overflowing with resources, they are unable to meet the demands of local entrepreneurs, while other ecosystems with smaller communities and fewer programs are thriving.

Please get in touch with Cheryl if you are an entrepreneur interested in making a positive influence on society and expanding your business internationally, especially if you are in the tech, health, education or agriculture industry.  Or if you’re an investor, looking for a high quality pipeline of social entrepreneurs sourced from industry leaders or a co-investment for impact driven enterprises with peers.

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

― Pericles

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