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Female Entrepreneurship To Benefit From Battambang Visit

17 Apr 2012

Battambang DelegationA nine-day visit to the University of Sydney by a high level delegation from Cambodia's University of Battambang (UBB) has served to further secure the future of female entrepreneurship in Asia.

The visit follows the establishment of a two-year University of Sydney Business School AusAID funded Female Entrepreneurship Training Project designed to instigate female entrepreneurship training in Cambodia and Vietnam. The $239,000 grant is enabling Business School academics Marylouise Caldwell, Paul Henry and Richard Seymour to travel to Battambang to impart vital training expertise with a view to meeting crucial educational needs in Australia's neighbouring countries.

"This program is important because of the gender inequity prevalent in business leadership in ASEAN," says Caldwell. "We are effectively there to engage in ongoing development and to train the people who will teach female entrepreneurs. Although women in these countries have considerable responsibility on the domestic front, it's very much frowned upon for them to have any kind of prominence in the business arena. As a result they have very little financial independence from men."

Despite the cultural barriers to workforce participation, Caldwell says the groundswell of female entrepreneurship in Cambodia is steadily building.

"We're hoping to harness a lot of the motivation, will and aspirations of the new generation of female Cambodians, many of whom are now becoming educated at university level," she says.

Caldwell adds that the visit by the Cambodian delegation (which included UBB's President) cemented ties with the Business School and also explored many different aspects of capacity building that The University of Sydney can offer, including crucial research support and collaboration with The Deputy Vice-Chancellor-International's Office and the Faculties of Agriculture, Medicine, Health Sciences and Engineering.