In Cambodia, women-run 65 percent of the businesses, however, most of them are informal and micro-sized. SHE Investments aims to change this by enabling women to create larger, sustainable and impactful businesses through culturally tailored incubators, accelerators and investment-readiness programs. SHE Investments and the female-led Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) they engage have been significantly impacted by the global pandemic.
“In Cambodia, ‘working from home’ for our team is very different to how it might look in other countries,” shares Celia Boyd, the Managing Director of SHE Investments. “We have team members in rural villages, charging their laptops with car batteries.”
The staff at SHE Investments are preparing to move all programs online for the next 2-3 months. For this to be successful, the organization began by reaching out to their networks to understand individuals’ capacity to join digital training classes and discover how they could be supportive.
“Internet connections are a real issue; almost none of our team have an internet connection at home, and rely on their phone hotspots to access their emails or do any work,” she adds. To address this concern, SHE Investments is shipping home routers like Smart @ Home, a broadband service in Cambodia, to houses and sending program participants phone credits to allow them to hotspot and join online classes.
While many challenges have developed from this new reality, SHE Investments is turning to an array of tools to ease the process. This includes Microsoft Teams for working remotely; Zoom for team meetings, webinars and online classes; and Clockify for team timesheets.
When it comes to implementing multiple new technologies simultaneously, the learning curve can be steep. “We are using tools to create video tutorials on our laptops to help our team and our participants to learn [how to work from home],” Boyd comments.
“We are also using social media to engage our network of female entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need now,” she adds. Boyd and the SHE Investments team are creating resources in Khmer (the official language of Cambodia) consisting of templates, videos, webinar classes regarding leading through a crisis, managing cash-flow, etc.
ស្របពេលដែលប្រទេសកំពុងតែជួបនឹងជម្ងឺ COVID-19 អាជីវករមួយចំនួនកំពុងតែខ្វល់ខ្វាយរឿងអាជីវកម្មរបស់ពួកគាត់។ បងប្អូនកុំបារម្ម!…
Looking forward, the organization plans to continue creating more digital resources for entrepreneurs and focus on digitizing their own work, for instance setting up a Learning Management System.
“The purpose of this is because it’s beneficial in multiple ways; it helps us to continue our work during this time and continue supporting entrepreneurs, and it also enables us to improve our systems and set programs up to be more efficient in the future,” says Boyd.