On Wednesday 9th September, H.E. Mean Sophea, Secretary of State and high representative of H.E. Kitti Setha Bandit Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation (MISTI) visited the site for the first SME Cluster planned by WorldBridge Industrial Developments (WBID). Located in the Takhmao Town of Kandal Province opposite affordable housing project and near the planned Phnom Penh International Airport and Ring Road 3, the SME Cluster Project is seen as an innovative and strategic solution for SME and industrial development in Cambodia.
Heightened by the ongoing Covid-19 situation and retraction of its EBA trade status, now more than ever Cambodia needs to accelerate its implementation of industrial diversification and SME development strategies to enable self-reliance and to sustain its economic growth. Designed for this purpose, the SME Cluster is thought to be an effective means in achieving these objectives and the goals of the RGC’s Rectangular Strategy. Its unique i4.0 based Ecosystem will elevate Cambodia’s manufacturing capabilities and thinking enabling it to leapfrog from today’s i2.0 environment to tomorrow’s global, i4.0 based environment. By enabling this environment, Cambodia will be able to retrain and better utilize its large and young workforce, integrate its talented ICT sector and set the stage for entrepreneurship in new product development using it ICT, agricultural and natural resources.
Differing from SEZs, Industrial Parks or traditional SME Clusters found today, the i4.0 SME Cluster is an innovative solution which supports the IDP objectives and serves as a vehicle in which RGC policies supporting skills-based employment, SME development, agro processing expansion and industrial diversification can be easily achieved. And most importantly, it brings a new future for SMEs, Entrepreneurs, ICT sector & manufacturing Investment in the Kingdom by bringing them together into complete and “co-opetitive” value chains.
Charles Esterhoy, CEO of WorldBridge Industrial Developments, founder and creator of the project understood that the solution needed to bridge the gaps between manufacturing FDI & local SMEs was to create and locate complete value chains inside of a flexible and responsive Ecosystem of facilities, services and ICT platforms. Using 4.0 technologies and integrating Active Management techniques, these value chains and their ecosystems can be linked together to enable the production of higher value outputs for both domestic and overseas markets. The construction of this first cluster will start in October 2020 and is planned to open in April 2021.
Oknha Sear Rithy, Chairman of the WorldBridge Group, noted there are natural social and economic synergies between the affordable housing and SME Cluster Projects which will bring a higher value proposition to residents, SME manufacturers and investors in the area. That is, the facilities and amenities provided by both projects will serve and add value to one another while at the same time maximizing land use and enhance the overall architectural outlook of the whole areas. For instance, the SME Cluster will KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA NATION RELIGION KING 8 not only create employment and business opportunities for people living on our housing estate next door, but it also acts as a jobs training and skill development center that can benefit the whole community. Similarly, the residential and commercial area as well as the landscape parks and other public amenities of the housing estate will serve its own residents as well as workers and staff within SME cluster.