10/07/2024

A journey of growth: From modest beginnings to community impact

Him Bunheng, a businessman from Baseth District in Kampong Speu province, began selling clean cooking energy products in 2017. His business growth was modest until 2023, when he received transformative support from the Higher Tier Cooking Component (HTCC) project. Bunheng's interest in clean cooking was piqued in 2021 when he attended a Smoke-Free Village workshop in his community. By July 2023, he was firmly of the opinion that his business was well-placed to meet the growing demand for clean cooking products in his district.

Expanding and developing his business

With HTCC's support, Bunheng's business has expanded considerably. He conducted various promotional activities, such as organising meetings with local communes, developing new marketing strategies like a village-to-village truck and loudspeaker, and stocking new products. Additionally, he invested in promotional materials like banners and name cards.

The project also prepared him for business growth. Workshops and home visits equipped him with essential business skills, which helped him run his enterprise more efficiently. The resources provided by the project allowed him to expand his reach to 24 additional branches, a significant leap from where he started.

The journey is not without challenges. One issue is the reliability of electricity for the products, as they still depend on the local electricity supply, which is not always stable. There is also latent resistance from villagers who do not understand the benefits of cooking with electricity. Still, Bunheng persists, and the growth of his business shows that perceptions are changing. Building strong connections with village chiefs through his initial involvement with Smoke-Free Village and gaining support from local authorities were crucial steps in overcoming initial scepticism.

He has also invested in promotional materials like banners and name cards.

Essential business skills help him run his enterprise more efficiently.

Impact that extends beyond one community

Bunheng dreams of seeing his 24 depots continue to thrive, each operating independently and successfully. He plans to continue holding community meetings to promote clean cooking products and advocate for the benefits of clean energy.

With the new skills and knowledge gained, Bunheng has become more confident in managing his business and sales channels. He is quickly becoming a role model for others. Individuals from other provinces—including Kampot, Pursat, and Kampong Speu—have contacted Bunheng for advice on harnessing the opportunities for support under the HTCC project. He has shared his experiences and provided guidance, encouraging them to adapt ideas to their community context rather than copying his directly.

Reflecting on his journey, Bunheng shared, 'The HTCC project has expanded my business and transformed my life. The on-hand support and training have empowered me to contribute to my community's well-being while promoting sustainable, clean cooking energy solutions.'

To learn more about our clean cooking initiatives