Apart from his culinary skills, chef Luu Meng says an important ingredient in his successful business is having acquired knowledge in financial literacy.
Meng, who is CEO of the Almond Group, began learning about finance as a child.
Meng sat down with The Post to answer some questions about financial literacy and its importance in life as well as how it helped him and how it can be of benefit to the Cambodian economy.
He said that one of the first lessons he learnt when he started business is the option that he implemented many years ago and that was to always re-invest.
“Any support is always important but usually finance from banks and institutions comes a bit later” Meng said.
Meng attributed financial literacy as the main cause for his business success and growth.
“Of late, there are a lot of different forums by different banks that have given us access to online banking. This convenience has made more time efficient. It has made our lives a lot easier.
“Banking technology is so important for better time management”, said Meng.
This is one very good reason for financial literacy. Without financial literacy, people will have no access to the plethora of new banking technology that has helped Meng’s business so much.
As Meng expanded his business, he needed to look for larger investments. This meant approaching banks and financial institutions for loans. This was a step up and something that Meng did not take lightly.
“I think loans from a bank is very important. If the bank or financial institution is willing to approve the loan, it means your business is secure and strong. This is important because banks have to do their research and they don’t gamble,” said Meng.
When applying for loans, Meng has some sound financial advice that will help potential borrowers.
“Take the loan with security. Don’t borrow more than you can pay back. You must do the numbers before you try to get the loan so you know if you can afford it or not,” he said.
There are many positives to successfully using a loan. Those positive benefits not only help the borrower but also the whole Cambodian economy. It demonstrates that investing in Cambodia is a good value proposition and “it is proof that investing in the Cambodian economy is a good economic idea,” said Meng.
“We can help to grow the whole economy by playing a role of creating a financially responsible human resources here. This resource in people can lift the economic level of everything,” Meng said.
He went on to explain how his business encourages financial literacy among his staff .
“Our human resource is the future of our company and the reason why we keep growing. We want a certain level financial literacy among our employees. Most of our employees need housing. We teach them about affordable housing. We try to teach responsibility in earning more and learning to save. With our system, they can be more ambitious.”
In terms of advice to Cambodian youth, Meng had this message: “Do not try to do everything. You are growing your business. If someone can help you to do it then use them. Get a good understanding of business and try to be conservative but encourage growth at the same time.”