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Over 1,400 New SMEs Launched in Cambodia, Bolstering Job Creation

Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MISTI) has reported a significant uptick in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector, with 1,406 new SMEs registered last year. This growth has contributed to the creation of 20,653 new jobs, showcasing the vital role of SMEs in stimulating local employment.

By the end of 2023, the total number of registered SMEs climbed to 44,628, marking a year-on-year increase of 1.43 percent, according to the official data. These enterprises have been instrumental in generating a total of 463,966 jobs for Cambodians, indicating a 2.86 percent rise from the previous year. The ministry's annual report highlights the dynamic expansion of the SME sector and its substantial contribution to the national economy.

The food and beverage processing industry emerged as the largest segment within the SME sector, representing 64.9 percent or 28,966 of the total registered SMEs. It was followed by steel processing and the weaving and garment sector, which accounted for 12 percent (5,493) and 7.9 percent (3,527) of the total, respectively.

In support of SME growth, the Cambodian government has established the SME Bank as a commercial entity aligned with national policies to ensure a robust and sustainable banking system. This initiative aims to provide SMEs with the necessary financial support to thrive and expand. To date, the SME Bank of Cambodia Plc. has disbursed over US$200 million in loans to at least 2,500 SMEs, demonstrating the government's commitment to fostering the sector's development.

The SME sector is regarded by the government as the cornerstone of the economy, with various stimulus programs launched to bolster its growth. The Prime Minister of Cambodia emphasized the critical importance of SMEs in the country's economic structure, describing them as the foundation of the economy during the closing ceremony of MISTI’s annual meeting.

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