Friday, May 24, 2024

Voeung Chan Delice – Founder of Asia Exotic Tour and Asia Exotic Trading

“I am woman, hear me roar!” is a well-known saying. In Cambodia, a more appropriate adage would be, “I am woman, watch me be an entrepreneur!”, and good reason too. After all, women own approximately 61 percent of businesses in the country, the vast majority of which are small home and micro enterprises.

At the same time, women entrepreneurs in Cambodia face the challenge of having to juggle their business needs with traditional gender expectations. This is something that Phnom Penh-born and based businesswoman Voeung Chan Delice knows too well.

 The founder and owner of two businesses in the Cambodian capital, Delice’s first venture into business came in 2008, not long after she graduated from the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Armed with a degree in tourism, she decided to put her course to good use and started her own travel and tourism company – Asia Exotic Tour.

 Fast forward to 2015, and by then, Asia Exotic Tour had carved out a niche in Cambodia’s tourism market.  During this time, Delice saw another opportunity and founded Asia Exotic Trading in response to the growing demand for locally produced baby products in the country.

 Today, Asia Exotic Tour is turning a small but regular profit, while Asia Exotic Trading has gained renown for its baby wipes, which it manufactures and brands under the names Alice, Mammy and Julie.

Empowering Others

For someone who is making her name as one of Cambodia’s bright young entrepreneurs, Delice started out in the business world with little to no knowledge of what it takes to run one, let alone from the scratch.

However, what she might have lacked in know-how, she more than made up for it in terms of determination and a thirst for learning. That is why, even after establishing two successful businesses, she decided to join the Women’s Entrepreneurial Center for Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE) Cambodia programme.

This US State Department programme was founded to help empower women entrepreneurs in Cambodia by providing them with networking and mentoring, as well as childcare services.

Delice recognises the importance of the latter as, being a mother of two herself, she said, “Women have to work 10 times harder than men because besides business, women still have to look after the family and be responsible for the household chores.”

And just as she has received, Voeung Chan Delice is also giving back. She is doing that by being a mentor at Support Her Enterprise (SHE) Investments – a social enterprise initiative aimed at helping women entrepreneurs in Cambodia upscale their businesses.

As she said in an interview with an American media company to other Cambodian women entrepreneurs, “Don’t turn back, no matter what challenges you meet. We have to go forward. So, we will be successful. Don’t ever think that women are weak, and can’t do things like men. Men and women can do the same. Some women are even smarter than men.”

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