Cambodian Village Entrepreneur Sokheit Nov has been able to grow a successful and sustainable cake business with the support of Teacher’s Mutual Bank. Now that success is spreading to the rest of her family.
By Cynara Moorhouse
“I make sure my cakes are delicious and well-presented, so they are attractive to my customers. I have saved $2.50 every month, and now am able to access better healthcare and send my children to school regularly”.
Sokheit Nov is a Village Entrepreneur from Cambodia. She lives in Kampong Chhang, a province in the heart of Cambodia that is full of lush, green rice fields. She joined CUFA’s Village Entrepreneur program in June 2012, when she started to receive support from Teachers Mutual Bank, a CUFA Community Investor.
Before getting involved with CUFA, she was already cooking and selling Khmer cakes, a tasty fried orange cake made from bean powder and sugar, from her home. But she was having trouble making enough money to provide sufficient food for her family and save for the future, along with many other members of her community. She also desperately needed to carry out house repairs.
With the support of Teachers Mutual Bank, Sokheit got the help she needed to grow her business. She was able to buy cake ingredients, equipment, and do repairs. She worked with local Cambodian CUFA staff to develop a marketing plan to attract more customers, making sure that her cakes were appealing, and her premises were always clean and well kept. Through purchasing additional ingredients, the grocer received a greater income, the vendor who sold her the additional equipment made an increased profit and her family benefited from the house repairs.
CUFA staff also helped her learn how to save and reinvest the money that she made. This has had a big impact on the way that she and her family live. Sokheit says she’s now been able to pay for her children’s school fees and her family’s health care. “By contributing more to my savings bank account, I was able to access better health care and ensure my children get well educated”.
The skills that Sokheit learned can also be transferred on to others such as her brother and sister who also live with her. Her success in creating a sustainable future is having a big impact for them too. Sokheit has been able to use some of the profits she has made from selling more cakes to help her sister Bo Nov set up a small grocery store. Now Bo is hoping to continue her grocery selling and grow her own savings account.
Often, when a community investor supports one village entrepreneur, the success spreads on to other members of the community in addition to their family members. An investment in one village entrepreneur is an investment in an entire community.
Sokheit’s goals for the future of her business are simple. She wants to increase the range of cakes she sells, and build a new stall so that her business can grow. She also says that she wants to “maintain a good relationship with my customers” so they’ll keep coming back.
Thanks to Teachers Mutual Bank for their continued support of Village Entrepreneur’s like Sokheit Nov.
Teachers Mutual Bank is a platinum sponsor of CUFA. Go to www.ve.org.au to sponsor your own Village Entrepreneur like Sokheit.