These great entrepreneurial stories from Asia are not covered in your daily news, but why?
More than half of the world’s population resides in Asia. We’re talking over 4.5 billion people here, spread over some 50 countries. It is the fastest growing economic region in the world, as well as the largest continental economy. The experienced wealth is mostly concentrated in regions that are in the east of the continent: China, Japan, Singapore, but also in the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia.
More Equal Than Others?
It's like George Orwell said: all countries are equal, but some are more equal than others. There are countries that get much less attention than others. Their stories are not covered in your daily news. You won’t read a lot about them, unless there’s a war going on and they can provide good TV ratings, but they too have the drive and good chance to grow.
Countries like Cambodia and Mongolia are having a hard time profiting from global economic growth. Even though many of them are hard-working entrepreneurs. They have had their businesses for many years, but have never had an easy time finding funding to grow. And that’s where we can come in.
We have interviewed some of these entrepreneurs, asking them about their lives and their companies. About their needs in funding and in learning better skills. Often ready to take their businesses to a new level, even across borders. Let’s meet some of them, shall we?
(If you're interested in our successful entrepreneurs in Africa, check this out)
A Gruesome History Didn’t Stop These Entrepreneurs
Chem (56) and her husband Chamroeun (58) live in Cambodia, they have been selling fruit and vegetables in the market in Phnom Penh for 30 years. That would be seen as a long period in most of the world, but certainly in Cambodia, with its gruesome recent history. Chem and Chamroeun were teenagers in the period of the Pol Pot regime, also known as Khmer Rouge (1975-1979).
Their daughter Rapsam helps in the shop. Well actually, it’s a bit more the other way around nowadays: Rapsam actually manages the vegetable stew and Chem and Chamroeun help her.
A Fairly Good Income
Rapsam: “Cambodia does have its own agricultural sector, but because it is still mostly manual and Cambodia has an extreme climate in terms of rain, it is difficult for Cambodian farmers to grow sufficient fruit and vegetables.” In the first years, things were hard, but they have proven themselves to be tenacious, and now they do a lot of international business. “We get about 1,000 kilos of fruit and vegetables per day from Vietnam and Thailand. The turnover is about € 20,000 per month and we make a healthy profit."
They are still paying off a loan, but Chem says: “We want to transfer our current annuity loan with a microfinance institution to a linear loan, because the business is running well now and we want to save on the interest costs.” A good entrepreneurial spirit!
Fix That High Unemployment Rate in the Philippines
We also interviewed Anthony Gaw, an entrepreneur from San Pablo City Laguna. The Philippines has the highest unemployment rate in Southeast Asia, according to the ILO (International Labor Organization). An estimated 12 million Filipinos don't have a job. But Anthony is determined to grow, help more people work and “fix the unemployment”.
Anthony started his company right after completing his Bachelor’s in Biology at the University of Manila. The company specializes in so-called vertical gardens: erect constructions decorated with plants and colorful flowers. They also developed their own artificial fertilizer, based on coconut fiber.
Cheaper and More Sustainable
Anthony is proud, and rightly so. The company has grown considerably since its start in 2009. The impact investment he received earlier has played an important part in this. "With the loan, I was able to buy plants before I really needed them. That meant that I could buy the plants when they were smaller, and therefore cheaper. I have allowed them to grow themselves and used them to get new plants. That now gives me a considerable purchasing advantage. So, we can work cheaper and more sustainable because of the loan.”
From 5 to 80 Cows in Mongolia
Altantuya Borkhuu from Mongolia is another entrepreneur we are proud of. From an early age she learned everything about producing dairy products and her childhood dream was to set up a dairy company one day. In 2004, she started with just 5 cows and she now owns a dairy facility with a total of 80 cows, two shepherds, and three employees working in the dairy. In terms of turnover, she keeps track of the income generated by the contracts with the customers. She uses the income from the sales to re-invest in her business.
Milk, the White Motor of Mongolia
Altantuya produces milk, yoghurt, ice cream, cream, butter, and a Mongolian delicacy for local stores and schools. Occasionally, she drives to Ulaanbaatar: "Our production has increased greatly in the meanwhile. In the near future we will have to buy a larger truck, because now we often have to drive back and forth several times.”
Join This Worldwide Movement Today
These are only 3 stories that show that our investments in proven entrepreneurs can make a real difference, but we’ve heard so many more. By creating new jobs with impact investments, we are building a better and more equal future for everyone, one investment at a time. And, we can earn a healthy return in the process. Join this worldwide movement of crowdfunding impact investors today, make money and make an impact!