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Thematic Area:

Women Banking & Empowerment


2018 –2019


International Finance Corporation (IFC)



Country Coverage:           


Project Overview

The aim of the Study on Cambodian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was to capture quantitative and qualitative data on SMEs owned by both men and women. The data could be used to generate insights and gender implications on the provision of SME banking services in the country and enhance the role of IFC in promoting financial inclusion. This has been the third study on women-owned SMEs carried out by Frankfurt School on behalf of IFC. The two previous studies provide information on Mongolia (2014) and Indonesia (2016).

women working

© International Finance Corporation 2019

The quantitative research collected data on women- and men-owned SMEs in order to analyse gender differences across entrepreneurial and business profiles, as well as to assess their prospects of finance access. Frankfurt School experts conducted structured face-to-face interviews with 500 eligible entrepreneurs (300 women and 200 men). A survey tool in the form of a questionnaire with 66 questionnaires was also developed. A series of interviews with banks and other stakeholders was also carried out.

The insights of the Study reveal that women tend to face more obstacles related to market access and information, and face more severe operational issues in their businesses. High domestic competition, mostly stemming from the informal sector, is a key challenge for all SMEs, and in particular for those led by women. The Study also highlights the role fintech and ICT solutions can play in overcoming typical barriers faced by women-owned SMEs, such as time scarcity, limited mobility and lack of self-confidence due to social stigmas.