Strengthening Regional Structures for Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion in ASEAN (ASEAN SMEs)
UPDATED on 27 May 2022
With the global trend of digitalisation and the growth of cross-border services, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in ASEAN will have better access and more opportunities to expand their markets. Therefore, providing SMEs with practical information, support and opportunities to expand their business beyond national to regional and even global levels will be crucial.
The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025 and the corresponding Strategic Action Plan for SME Development (SAPSMED) 2025 place special emphasis on promoting SMEs in the region. In close cooperation with the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME), the project supports the implementation of the SAPSMED 2025 with a dual focus on improving the market access and internationalisation of SMEs (strategic goal C), as well as enhancing the policy and regulatory environment (strategic goal D).
The ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) recognises digital connectivity to promote regional connectivity and economic recovery and to strengthen SMEs’ participation and integration in the AEC. In line with the framework, the 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS) launched the ASEAN Access, the regional one-stop business information gateway. Features and digital solutions integrated with the portal will continue to evolve to support SMEs with trading within the region and beyond.
The project aims to strengthen the ASEAN SME Services Centre in improving cross-border business development and the National SME Information Centre within the framework of the ASEAN SAPSMED 2025, by implementing the following thematic fields:
(1) Improving the ASEAN SME Service Centre;
(2) Strengthening national SME information centres;
(3) Promoting national SME services for internationalisation.
ASEAN Access is owned by the 10 AMS and overseen by the ACCMSME. It receives strategic guidance from the ASEAN Task Force on ASEAN Access and is managed by the Office of SME Promotion, Thailand (OSMEP). The strength of ASEAN Access lies in the coordination between implementing agencies (National Focal Points) with Network Partners in ASEAN and beyond. At present, ASEAN Access is supported by more than 45 network partners at the national and regional levels.
The network partners consist of business associations or chambers of commerce. Network Partners bridge the coordination between the public and private sectors, and connect national priorities in SMEs internationalisation to ASEAN Economic Integration.
National portals in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam were launched between the end 2021 and early 2022, facilitated by the project.
ASEAN Access, the ‘one-stop service for ASEAN SMEs’ was officially launched in June 2021 by the ACCMSME and OSMEP. To date, ASEAN Access has served over 22,000 users and provided information and services to more than 1,000 registered members and service providers.
To support SMEs trading within the region and beyond, additional features integrated with the platform are being continuously developed. ASEAN Access MATCH, launched on 25 January 2022, is an official business matchmaking and market access event platform in ASEAN and beyond. MATCH offers companies the opportunities to participate in virtual cross-border business matchmaking, knowledge and skills-building workshops, and market and sector information events.
MATCH events are all delivered through the extensive network of business support organisations behind ASEAN Access, in the region as well as in Europe and China.
The ASEAN Access Learn, Policy and Beyond will be gradually launched as digital solutions tools and features. Please visit https://www.aseanaccess.com/
RESULTS SO FAR
The Regional ASEAN SME Web Portal (ASEAN Access) has promoted digitalization and increased businesses within and beyond the region (please visit aseanaccess.com for more information).
National Web Portals in CLMV plus Indonesia have been developed in order to link local SMEs to additional opportunities within ASEAN.
National Focal Points and ASEAN SME Regional Task Force have been set up.
Linkages among private and public sector networks on SME promotion within the region have been strengthened.
Best practices from Thailand on digital promotion of national SMEs have been applied among other selected ASEAN member states.
Online matchmaking events have been organised for ASEAN SMEs and businesses in the EU.
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam
The ACCMSME and the national focal points (SME-related agencies) in ten ASEAN Member States. The partner in Thailand is the Office of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion (OSMEP)