Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Senteurs d'Angkor Cambodia (Asian SE Cases 7 of 8)


Senteurs d’Angkor


The Challenge
Cambodia’s population is made up of approximately 5% more females than males with husbands missing from the picture because of death, divorce or migration for work. This has left the Cambodian women with the responsibility to feed their family. As most women have received a poor education and lack a good set of skills, it is difficult for them to find a job and most cannot travel to find work as they have obligations at home. They also struggle with finding the right information to set up their own business or where to get the proper training to improve their employment prospects.
For decades, Cambodia has also been exporting primary products and importing finished goods. The ratio of import versus export has been very much skewed towards imports, causing a trade deficit. The weakening US dollar is also a commonly used currency within Cambodia which does not cause the export price to change (largest export is in garments to the US) but increases the import price (imports are made from various countries) in dollars – the trade deficit is widening.
The Entrepreneur and Solution
Senteurs d’Angkor is a social enterprise that was started by a group of dedicated entrepreneurs in 1999 to let the world discover the wonders which the Cambodian Kingdom has to offer. Along with the culinary and olfactory heritage inspiration and actively promoting Khmer artisans and traditional handicrafts, there were two additional goals: 1) to reduce the unemployment rate amongst local women by employing them as weavers and 2) to have all materials sourced from within Cambodia.
Local women are employed by Senteurs d’Angkor from the villages in the Siem Reap province - approximately 100 women are currently employed. This focused hiring may appear to be simple but it has proven to be of high impact for these women. By learning the skill of how to weave, they are also learning how to make money to increase the standard of living for their families. As these women are all employed from within the Siem Reap province, they do not have to move or travel great distances to find employment. This in turn allows for their family to have a more stable lifestyle and the women are close by and available if their family needs them in the case of an emergency. In other words, Senteurs d’Angkor has given the women of Siem Reap the tools to make a sustainable living.
Senteurs d’Angkor produces and sells a variety of Cambodian gifts and traditional Khmer products that all stimulate the sense of smell or taste. The products range from spices, to soaps, to teas and curries. All raw materials and ingredients used in their products are sourced from all over Cambodia. The material used for packaging comes from the sugar palm trees, which is an abundant, natural and recyclable resource also found within Cambodia. In committing to the philosophy of internal sourcing, Senteurs d’Angkor brings down the reliance on imports and successfully keeps jobs and income within the country.

No comments: