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Trends in Micro, Small, Medium-sized Enterprises Discussed at APEC Workshop

5 September 2022

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Phuket, 5 September 2022: The need to develop policy approaches targeting the diverse groups of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) as beneficiaries was highlighted in findings presented during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) 2022 Workshop held in Phuket on 5 September 2022. The workshop, organised by Thailand under the framework of its APEC chairmanship, had as its theme Ready for the ‘Next Normal’: How MSMEs should Adapt to an Evolving Market Landscape.

MSMEs represent more than 95% of diverse ASEAN firms, from highly dynamic high-tech start-ups to more traditional family businesses to less productive ventures struggling to adapt to the rapidly changing technological and geopolitical environment. Most business policy support targets MSMEs and some policy interventions propped up firms struggling during the pandemic, particularly those lacking the skills and finance to remain profitable.

Dr Giulia Ajmone Marsan, Director for  Strategy and Partnership of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) , presented the  findings of the research carried out under the E-S-I Knowledge Lab.  She said the support needed by high-growth small firms is extremely different from that needed by traditional and less productive micro firms. She said some entrepreneurs have more difficulties than others in benefitting from the digital economy, including women, those in rural areas where digital connectivity is less accessible, or people with disability. Dr Marsan discussed the important partnerships amongst government, business, and educational institutions in the development and implementation of policy approaches.

Other speakers included Mr Michael Bak of Meta, Mr Luke Tay of Cornucipia FuturesScapes, and Dr Chao-Chiun Liang of the Industrial Technology Research Institute of Chinese Taipei.

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