Signing up to a chamber of commerce comes hand-in-hand with a whole string of benefits for new businesses, says EuroCham Cambodia Chief Executive, Sheila Scopis.
More than 12 foreign national business chambers operate in Cambodia, with a large proportion of the business community members of at least one organisation. The aim of the chambers is to represent individuals and businesses from their home countries, with membership open to any nationality.
Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations offer different sets of benefits to members depending on their mandate. However, generally they provide help to foreign companies operating in the Kingdom.
They offer practical advice, up-to-date information from back home, networking opportunities and often a series of speeches from relevant international keynote speakers.
The European Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest chambers operating in the country, alongside AmCham and BritCham. Like many other chambers, it ultimate aim is advocacy, says Executive Director, Sheila Scopis.
“Essentially, we lobby on behalf of European businesses,” she adds. “We co-ordinate their activities under EuroCham’s umbrella, and we escalate their recommendations to relevant ministries within the Royal Government of Cambodia—so that European businesses can speak with one voice.”
Benefits for EuroCham Cambodia members include access to Sector Specific Committees, with representatives welcome to join one. Currently there are active committees covering Pharmaceutical, Green Business, Logistics and Transport, Real Estate and Construction, HR, Tourism and Hospitality and SMEs. Representatives meet monthly to share ideas on any challenges or issues within their industry.
Members also have access to and support from the European Union commercial representatives in regard to EU-related trade disputes. This is coupled with access to a regional network of European Chambers of Commerce and their members.
Chambers are also often involved in the organisation of missions and delegation on behalf of companies, other chambers and embassies of EU members’ states. Often when facilitating these visits, chambers will put prospective investors in touch with members.
The majority of chambers organise events, with luncheons, business forums, networking events, technical seminars and breakfast meetings taking place at regular intervals throughout the month.
Scopis says the benefits of joining a chamber are endless. “The business community in Phnom Penh is definitely open to welcome new international businesses. In such a small economy, the arrival of new companies is indeed instrumental to the expansion of existing ones,” she comments.
“From experience, our members are always readily available to talk to prospective investors and willing to share practical guidelines on how to start their operations, tips on how to overcome the gaps in human capital, deal with interactions with local authorities and so forth.”
For more information on EuroCham Cambodia, visit: www.eurocham-cambodia.org/