Singapore University of Social Sciences

Social Entrepreneurship in Cambodia (OEL314)


The main objective of OEL314 is to provide students with the conceptual tools and learning experiences to develop a deeper understanding of Cambodian social enterprises that address the country’s social, economic, and environmental challenges. This objective will be achieved through a combination of experiential learning, e-learning, classroom activities, and participation in an overseas trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Having long been associated with poverty, war and genocide, Cambodia has emerged as one of Asia’s fastest growing economies with an average 7% growth in GDP over the last decade, and in 2016 graduated from one of the world’s Least Developed Countries to a Lower Income Country. Due to the civil war, nearly 50% of Cambodia’s current population is below the age of 25. These youths, with a comparatively higher level of English proficiency, are seeking new opportunities for higher education and employment or business opportunities. Cambodia now offers plenty of opportunities for young entrepreneurs and new businesses, with many enterprises working to address various social, economic, and environmental issues. This course will introduce students to the dynamic eco-system of co-working spaces, incubators and accelerators available to young entrepreneurs in Phnom Penh. Through working directly with Cambodian students, instructors, community stakeholders, and young entrepreneurs in Phnom Penh, students would be inspired to develop innovative ideas for social enterprises. By immersing in Cambodia’s rich culture and history and witnessing the various challenges that the nation faces, students will not only learn about the challenges and opportunities for social entrepreneurship in an emerging economy, but also get to reflect critically on their presumptions about Cambodia.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every January


  • Emerging economies: specific challenges and opportunities facing young entrepreneurs and social enterprise in emerging economies
  • Enterprise, innovation and technology: initiatives that support entrepreneurship in Cambodia
  • Social enterprise: social and environmental challenges addressed by enterprises
  • Cross-cultural environments: local cultural and historical contexts necessary to creating successful enterprises in Cambodia
  • Essential skills required for the trip – safety awareness and cultural sensitivity

Learning Outcome

  • Identify challenges and opportunities for social entrepreneurship in an emerging economy
  • Examine the underlying factors for development, equality and sustainability in an emerging economy
  • Explain the roles that social entrepreneurship in an emerging economy can play in enhancing equality and sustainability
  • Apply knowledge of cultural and historical contexts to develop innovative interventions in social entrepreneurship
  • Deconstruct preconceptions about living and working in a developing country
  • Examine how local partners work together to create an enabling environment for social entrepreneurship
  • Construct new ways to address equality and sustainability that take into consideration the local context
  • Examine how the assumptions behind their new approaches shape the way they address their selected issues
  • Verify their new approaches with stakeholders
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