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Footprint Cafes Siem Reap - My Indie World

Footprint Cafes Siem Reap


Footprint Cafes Siem Reap

Eat & Shop • Siem Reap

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Footprint Cafes Siem Reap
Leave Your Footprint: Read, Eat, and Cowork. Explore


About Georgina Hemmingway, Founder

Georgina first came to Cambodia in 2010. She was in the capital city, Phnom Penh, during the Bon Om Touk festival, which marks the changing of direction of the city’s main river, Tonlé Sap. That year, tragedy struck and around 350 people lost their lives on a stampede across the river’s Rainbow Bridge.

Although Georgina wasn’t directly involved, a series of events, including a memorable night on Pub Street, led her to volunteer in Cambodia.

“One night when I was in Pub Street, I was watching a lot of backpackers drinking whiskey buckets.

It was after midnight and I saw a group of children walking down the street. They were probably aged between three and five, and they were going through the bins trying to find food.

The lived reality of a tourist and the lived reality of someone in the community are very different.”

Eventually, she joined forces with Ian Croft, a former investment banker she met while traveling, to establish their first café called New Leaf. Georgina felt inspired by the admirable goals of New Leaf café but believed there was more she could contribute. She had a strong desire to replicate the experience and create a chain of similar establishments. Recognizing the need for additional business training, she applied to study entrepreneurship at Cambridge Judge Business School.

With Ian’s support, Georgina embarked on a postgraduate diploma in entrepreneurship, immersing herself in the program. In April 2016, she presented her idea for Footprints to potential donors at a café in Cambridge. The response was immediate and positive, with scientist and entrepreneur Darrin Disley generously injecting $150,000 of his own funds into Footprint Cafés. He also took the lead in raising an additional $350,000 for the launch.

Darrin Disley (left) & Georgina (right)

In October 2016, Footprint emerged as a remarkable social enterprise, combining a café and a bookstore. They imported nearly 8,000 titles from book drives in the UK, marking the beginning of a fulfilling journey with no limits.

Footprint has a large selection of second-hand books donated by  supporters in the UK. The first book drive collected over 8,000 books from individuals, business and institutions in London and Cambridge, including Cambridge University.

Made With Love

The story of Footprint has its roots in three remarkable places: New York, Siem Reap, and Cambridge University.

The spark that ignited the Footprint model came from the incredible Housing Works bookshop nestled in Lower Manhattan.

This magical bookstore, run entirely by volunteers, is dedicated to supporting the homeless population of New York city.

After a transformative volunteer experience here in Siem Reap, it became clear that a similar approach could make a positive impact in Cambodia, where mass tourism often does not benefit the local population as best it could.

It was in Cambridge, through the University’s Social Ventures program, that the idea behind Footprint was nurtured, refined and grown. Thanks to the support of the University and the local business community, Footprint was able to take its first steps here in Siem Reap. Through the power of community, compassion, and education, Footprint is on a journey to transform the way we approach tourism and empower local communities.

Fuelled with Passion

In a world where tourism and its impacts are becoming ever more important, Footprint is here to sprinkle some magic and make it a force for good! We’re all about bringing people from different walks of life together, making it super easy for travellers to give back, championing green practices to save our planet, and empowering local communities. Get set to embark on a special journey and leave your own positive footprint for change.

Today’s readers are tomorrow’s leaders! Its Footprint cafes’ wonderful customers who help to make reading a reality.

Driven by Purpose

In our café and co-working space, we embrace the 3Ps: People, Planet, Profit. We provide a charming environment for you to relax or work while supporting the local community at every level.

People – being good to our team and acting as a springboard to help them fulfill their dreams such as starting their own cafes.

Planet – incorporating environmentally sustainable practices within our business and promoting them in the wider community.

Profit – 100% of profits donated back to the community as local educational grants. Where those grants are best placed is decided by our team and the local community.