Khmer Sedge Designs

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Khmer Sedge Designs is a social enterprise operating in Ksach Kandal creating a variety of high- quality, all-natural sedge grass products, preserving traditional crafts and supporting economic empowerment for women. UBERIS Capital and Khmer Sedge Designs are working together since 2012.

Khmer Sedge Designs started in the home of Ms. Sreng Ly Leng in her home village in Ksach Kandal district, Kandal Province in 1980. Ms. Ly Leng, has been growing her family weaving business. Many of the women in Ksach Kandal are engaged in mat making and use their skills of weaving traditional Khmer designs from sedge.

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The challenge of this project was to unite scattered stakeholders (more than 300 people) of the sedge value chain of Kandal region, Cambodia into a sole structure that will fulfill each actor’s expectation and amplify the economic benefits of the activity. By joining the structure, independent workers will be able to evolve in a structure ensuring them more stable monthly income. The production site is in Prek Tameak district, Kandal province, the home of Ms. Sreng Ly Leng, all workers work from home or at the workshop located in the village. There is also a representative office/show room in Phnom Penh.

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KSD is a supply-chain company. Its production generates work for women employees as well as suppliers who work from home. This work enables Kandal women to stay at home and earn additional income. Without this opportunity, women tend to leave home for weeks at a time to take up temporary employment in garment factories. Such labor is less remunerative for them and deprives households. With KSD work, women can work from home, earn more and keep tending children.

UBERIS Capital investment into KSD is an early-stage loan of $20,000 as part of a $80,000 investment including convertible debt and equity from co-investors.

Social Impact:

The business aims at increasing the living standards of all the actors of the sedge value chain in the region and at creating and increasing added value in the sector in Cambodia.

Added value: the higher quality of Cambodian sedge is acknowledged internationally and 80 – 90 % of the volumes of Cambodian sedges are exported to be processed in other countries. Through the production of high quality products, added value is created and retained in Cambodia and benefits local producers.

In the traditional sedge value chain, the isolation of stakeholders’ generally hampers business development opportunities. The organization has added value by combining these stakeholders in an integrated production process and by promoting high quality standards for sedge products. The increase in exports in 2009 and 2010 reflects the added value brought by the organization to the sedge value chain through these integrated activities. Therefore, the project will continue to bring a significantly higher revenue income to all stakeholders of the value chain.

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Achievements thanks to UBERIS Capital: Khmer Sedge Design bought three new weaving machines to meet growing demand. Products are sold to local markets as well as to importers in East Asia.