This month, we’re incredibly excited to be handing ownership of Soksabike over to our local management team to lead the next chapter.
When we started out on this journey in Battambang nearly ten years ago, we were struck by the ambition of the young people we were meeting, many of them the first in their families to get university level education, and all looking for channels for growth and development. Very few opportunities existed for part-time work, where university students could learn in a professional environment. In Cambodia, while more and more young people were attending university, they were graduating without the skills to succeed, and with limited employment options.
We saw that while Cambodia was an increasingly popular destination for travelers, the effects of tourism were beginning to wear, leaving communities vulnerable. We wagered that it wasn’t too late to nudge the industry towards more equitable and respectful experiences for travelers and destinations, starting with a small, grassroots initiative.
We founded Soksabike in 2009 to provide training and growth opportunities for local youth while also promoting and practicing responsible tourism principles.
Since then we have trained over 40 local youth, taken 8,787 guests on responsible journeys into the countryside, and have been recognized with 2 honors from international tourism bodies. Our contribution along with the contribution of countless other businesses around the world have helped propel the sustainable tourism movement and given travelers unique experiences whilst supporting the communities they visit.
We are so very excited to announce that Soksabike is finally achieving our aspiration for majority local ownership by transitioning the business to three veteran staff - Kanha Sam, Mony Pich, and Phalla Chhoy.
Their strong commitment to Soksabike over the past 4-5 years combined with their drive to acquire new skills in business operations, equipment management, and leadership, have made them natural choices to take on this challenge.
Kanha Sam will be taking the lead role as Managing Director of Soksabike. Over the last 6 months, through taking a course at She Investments in Phnom Penh, Kanha has been able to accelerate her professional development and ready herself for the new role. The monthly bus rides back and forth between Battambang and Phnom Penh and extra workload have paid off providing Kanha the management and leadership skills she needs.
Mony Pich joined the Soksabike team as a guide about 4 years ago. He’s developed into one of our best guides, always providing new ideas for how Soksabike could grow or be more involved in the community. Mony will be stepping into a new role as Marketing and Product Development Specialist. He has worked intensely with our marketing volunteer, Bethany, to learn the ins and outs of digital marketing and has been scouring the internet to learn more about best practices and tricks to make the most of our marketing resources. Mony is excited and ready to go so be sure to help him out and engage with our marketing material!
Phalla Chhoy joined the Soksabike team around the same time Kanha did 5 years ago. They’ve been working together for a long time and their teamwork will continue to make Soksabike strong and sustainable into the future. As new owners, the team is prioritizing continuing Soksabike’s impact initiatives, especially towards young people in Battambang. Phalla has expressed the value he’s gotten from working at Soksabike and is excited to continue that legacy under his own direction. Phalla will be taking on the role of Guide Training and Maintenance Supervisor. This is a critical piece of Soksabike’s impact initiatives but with Phalla’s experience as a guide and great attitude as a mentor, he’ll be sure to succeed!
The team is taking charge with exciting times ahead of them. Mony and Kanha are heading to Vietnam in a few weeks to compete as a shortlisted applicant for the MIST tourism startup accelerator program. At the same time, Phalla will be leading an AirAsia Foundation visit where they will film a feature on Soksabike for Red Talks with Daphne.
Kanha, Mony, and Phalla have what it takes to make Soksabike better than it's ever been. We're thrilled for this next chapter with the local owner team leading the way.
Mel and Katie