Entrepreneurship in Asia
Spirit.......an upbeat view of the future, an eager learner, and a recognition of the team's capacity.... are traits you really want to see in an aspiring entrepreneur.
Rach has been one of my major surprises while in Cambodia. We see him almost every day at the reception desk in our apartment. We were aware that many of the staff worked to support themselves at University so we just presumed they were all students. Wrong!
While digging for models to support a few ideas I was working on, I thought of interviewing some of our staff just to see what I could find.. Not only were they articulate in expressing their ideas, political and otherwise, they also expressed them with real conviction.
As we were talking, Rach mentioned that he had a business. He immediately had my attention as I found this unusual in a student working to support himself to school. Michael Dell? The next Gates? Maybe not. But the next success....you betcha!
So who is Rach? He was born in Takeo in a village about 30 kilometres from the town centre and situated right at the border of Cambodia and Vietnam. His father works in the Governor's office and also farms. Rack has one other brother who did not attend University.
Rach just like so many of his age in the village did not immediately go to College. He was needed to help on the family farm after finishing high school. Because of lack of money to go on, most graduates in his village did exactly the same so there was nothing unusual about his plight.
One day, his uncle told him about the founder of Pannasastra University, a man who also hailed from Takeo, who offers scholarships for the poor from the Province. Rach grabbed this opportunity and enrolled in IT. He has now finished all the courses and is just waiting for the examination.
He had a scholarship but Rach had to support himself while studying, so, first he worked in a private school teaching basic computer stuff. He stayed with friends from his village, with 5 of them to a room. When his buddies left, he moved to another place where he roomed with 3 women and 2 men again from the same village.
Through his teacher, he also found a job at Skyline residences which he has kept until now. Once again his accomodations collapsed and Rach found a dorm run by a Christian group. Even though a Buddhist, he followed all their rules and stayed for two years developing good relationship.
Working at Skyline, he met the technically skilled team that every modern hotel must have.. He started going with them when they worked and got some of their skills. Now, they are his partners in his company, AngkorCam.
As a team, they have expertise and experience in WiFi, Electrical installation and maintenance and Camera Security installation. Among their clients is the Skyline Apartment and Hotel, the Ta Phrom Hotels in Siem Reap and Kirirom.
Not only has Rach supported himself through school and started a company, but he also shows an enterprise model which is the future. His team have full time jobs, but at the same time are available for contracts. A smart, flexible employer!
Rach recalled his fear the first time he met a customer. But now, he finds it easy to give them quotes and sign contracts and chat while working.
Rach now also regularly shares his earnings with his family. He looks forward to the future of his business developing new projects to add to his portfolio.
This is what builds a country..attitude...determination...a work ethic (try rice growing for a while if you doubt that) and an ability to see an opportunity in even fairly bleak circumstances. This is South east Asia today.
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