Woman for Woman in Los Angeles conducts distribution of wholesale Cambodian silk accessories and gift products made in its small factory in Phnom Penh. In the small factory, women with physical disabilities are trained to sew and create products designed by co-founder, Veasna Chan Nhean. Their silk products are unique because everything from their design, to production, and sales are done by Cambodian women. Woman for Woman provides women in Cambodia with vocational training, fair wages and benefits with good working conditions and micro lending to achieve economic independence and provide care of their families. Woman for Woman is a member of Artisan Association of Cambodia and a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. They believe in empowering women through economic security.
Woman for Woman was co-founded by Veasna Chan Nhean and Suely Ngouy in August of 2005. The name of the business was developed through a friendship and the belief that dreams can become a reality when a woman supports another woman. Veasna is a television set and stage designer for Cambodian Television Network (CTN) and lives in Cambodia. Suely is Cambodian-American and is the Executive Director of a community-based organization called Khmer Girls in Action in Long Beach, California.
How has PACE Business Development Center helped Woman for Woman?
Although Suely Ngouy had established the business and a great vision in 2009 before coming to PACE, she lacked experience and knowledge on how to manage and grow her new business. After graduating from PACE’s Entrepreneurial Training Program in May 2009, she proclaimed that, “The entrepreneur program provided me with important information on writing a business plan, pricing, marketing, accounting, business finance, business loans and capital.” She learned the tools taught in the entrepreneur training classes and one-on-one technical sessions so that she could plan and develop infrastructure and systems for her business to not just survive but to grow and fulfill their vision and passion.
As a result of PACE’s assistance, Woman for Woman now has the appropriate licenses and permits to operate as a social enterprise business. Suely also learned about financial management and how to use Quickbooks to do the accounting and record keeping for the business. She has also set up the appropriate pricing structure for the products based on the guidelines provided for her in the course. Woman for Woman is currently in the midst of applying to become a member of the Fair Trade Federation in order to market the products as part of an organization that fits with its socially conscious business values. As a result of going through PACE’s workshops and technical assistance, the company has become strong enough to submit an application to the PACE’s SBA Microloan Intermediary Fund to secure a loan to finance the next stage of the company’s growth.
Suely’s plans to create five jobs for Cambodian-American women and to grow her revenue to $1,000,000 by 2016.
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