Asa Mart's Story: A Testament to Resilience, Innovation, and Community Support in Phnom Penh During COVID-19

Published: Mar 1, 2024 Reading time: 2 minutes
The owner of Asa Mart is at the vegetable farm
© Photo: Asa Mart's

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted economies worldwide, with micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) bearing a significant impact. In Phnom Penh, businesses like Asa Mart, owned by Mrs. Soung Chanthou, have faced challenges that have affected their income and operations.  

COVID-19 has been a tough challenge, but it has also been a learning experience. I've discovered new ways to run my business and have grown as an entrepreneur. I am confident that Asa Mart will continue to thrive," Chanthou affirmed.

Asa Mart is a local store that sells natural agricultural products, including fruits, healthy vegetables, groceries, and drinks. Chanthoujoined a project recommended by a friend that aimed to support MSMEs with knowledge and small grants. This project has not only helped her business, but also impacted her perspective on entrepreneurship.

Before joining the project, Asa Mart primarily relied on walk-in customers for business. However, after becoming part of the project, she underwent a transformation in her approach. With guidance and support from the project, she gained valuable skills in online marketing and promotion, which led to a substantial increase in her online customer base. This shift not only diversified her customer reach, but also enhanced her overall business strategy.

Moreover, her involvement in the project profoundly impacted her understanding of financial management. Through the project, she gained insights into proper financial practices, including the realization that she could and should pay herself a salary. This new perspective on financial management brought about a significant change in how she viewed and operated her business.

"Learning about financial management was eye-opening. I used to think of my business and personal finances as one, but now I see the importance of separating them. It has made a big difference in how I manage Asa Mart," Chanthou shared.

Despite the challenges, Chanthou remains optimistic. She is grateful for the support from the project and believes that with resilience and innovation, MSMEs like hers can overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Chanthou's journey exemplifies the resilience and adaptability of MSMEs in the face of adversity. Her story serves as a testament to the importance of financial literacy and the potential for growth and learning even in the toughest of times.

People in Need Cambodia, together with its local partners and with funding from the European Union, has the “Intergrated COVID-19 response for project urban setting in Phnom Penh” which aims to support poor urban areas in Cambodia to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

Autor: Senghorng Sem , Communication Officer

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