Cambodia: Building a big future for small businesses

Man Phirun, 43, from Cambodia | Photo: Sathapana

Access to affordable financing is key in a country whose economy is driven by a veritable army of micro-, small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs.

Man Phirun, 43, is a leading businessman in his community, generating annual sales revenues of US$500,000–US$600,000 from his highly successful fish farm in Cambodia’s Kendal Province.

When he started his enterprise five years ago, Man had only one pond with less than 20,000 fish. He operated the business with the help of his wife and without any technical equipment. He was lucky if he made US$16,000–US$18,000 per annum.

Today, he owns seven hectares of land and operates five ponds containing over 500,000 baby fish. His business is partly mechanized and he employs a team of workers.

With his new income, Man has been able to significantly improve his family’s living standards. As well expanding the land for his fish enterprise, he has purchased a plot for a family home, and bought several trucks for other businesses as well.

In addition to vision and hard work, Man’s success can be attributed to a series of microcredits he obtained from Sathapana, one of Cambodia’s leading microfinance institutions.

OFID is supporting Sathapana through a joint financing facility with the Dutch development bank FMO. OFID’s share is being used specifically to provide small-business loans to low income households in rural areas of Cambodia.

After receiving an initial US$15,000 in 2013, Man secured additional loans to continue expanding. “At first, I used the funds to buy fodder for the fish, then I bought a fodder mixing machine and another machine for water irrigation. This equipment has made my business more efficient and profitable,” Man said.

For now, Man is happy with the size of his fish farming enterprise, but he is keeping an eye on market demand to see if there is an opportunity for further expansion next year. If so it will be with Sathapana’s help.

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