HCM CITY – Agencies that support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to keep up with business trends and formulate measures to promote SME development, Đặng Huy Đông, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, said at the 45th Meeting of the APEC Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG) now taking place in HCM City.
Đông said the role of support agencies was important because “advances made in digital technology today and drastic changes brought by the 4.0 industrial revolution will create new opportunities for the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).”
He added that, through APEC fora, SMEs had gained knowledge and created legislation in line with international economic practices.
However, since many SMEs are still struggling with weak competitiveness, APEC economies and SMEs have promoted improved governance; facilitated technological innovation by giving priority access to finance; and opened up new market opportunities, while ensuring an enabling environment for doing business.
The 45th two-day SMEWG includes representatives from 21 economies who are discussing the outcomes of previous meeting and the group’s strategic plan for the 2017-20 period.
A number of ideas on how the group can contribute to priority areas towards 2018 was also exchanged. The priority areas include: entrepreneurship and innovation and the internet and digital economy; financing for business expansion and capability development; and inclusive business ecosystems that support SME growth and market access for SMEs.
Also discussed were examples of how to develop entrepreneurship, foster innovation, access finance, and create business ecosystems.
Vietnamese representatives presented an initiative on promoting innovative start-ups, while Thailand and Peru shared the development of a strategy on green, sustainable and innovative micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
Japan shared a report on APEC best practices for promoting the supporting industry in the region, while Malaysian representatives spoke about financing for business expansion and capability development and Singapore presented information on its startup ecosystem.
“Exchanges and discussions at the meeting will contribute to fostering our shared future in the APEC region. SMEs are the driving forces in the context of rapid development in digital economies,” Đông said. “We are discussing the potential for practical co-operation, and most importantly identifying priority areas to strengthen SMEs competitiveness throughout the APEC region. In doing so, we will set the track for SMEs in our APEC economies to start up and grow robustly in the right direction.”
SMEs, the engines of growth and innovation in the APEC region, account for over 97 per cent of all enterprises and employ over half of the workforce across APEC economies.
SMEWG works toward the achievement of APEC’s Bogor Goals by fostering an enabling business environment for SMEs to grow and develop into export-ready firms. VNS