Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – Fostering micro, small and medium-sized enterprises is considered one of the keys to generating growth and innovation in the APEC region, heard a forum on start-ups and MSMEs held yesterday on the sidelines of the 24th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting being held in HCM City.
The forum was a platform for entrepreneurs, business experts, investors and regulators from APEC economies to discuss support for MSMEs and start-up businesses such as enabling them to innovate, integrate and access the global value chain right among other issues.
It also enabled the APEC members to share experiences, ideas and tools to support businesses and start-ups to form a vibrant and networked bloc-wide community.
There are 110 million MSMEs in APEC, accounting for 98 per cent of all business and 70 per cent of exports and employing 54 per cent of the population.
Canadian ambassador to Việt Nam, Ping Kitnikone, said though MSMEs play an important role in the growth of all member economies, they are still facing many challenges as they tend to stay local and small.
"Therefore, they need support to realise their growth potential such as on how to take risks, attract businesses, access regional and global markets."
According to Hoàng Văn Dũng, chairman of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), 75 per cent of Việt Nam’s companies are small or medium-sized, and they are facing difficulties in expanding and accessing finance and the global value chain.
He made three recommendations to help grow MSMEs in the region, which will be submitted to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November 2017 in Đà Nẵng.
He said the first is to enhance MSMEs global presence through the digital economy since "e-commerce and ICT services offer MSMEs opportunities to enhance competitiveness and innovation to further access international markets and overcome obstacles in trade."
Second is to help MSMEs access finance as it is one of the biggest challenges preventing them from joining the global market, he said.
He said one of the ways to resolve this problem is by APEC member economies engaging more in setting up financial services and enabling regional dialogues on fintech and finance education.
Third is to foster women entrepreneurship by starting training courses to equip them with skills, enhance their capacity and networking to achieve leadership positions, especially economic roles, and connecting women entrepreneurs in the region to empower more women to build businesses, he said.
Reports from the World Bank and ILO show that 47.4 per cent of women in the East Asia and Pacific region partly own firms as compared to the global average of 34.4 per cent.
Though in Việt Nam there is 73 per cent participation in the labour force by women, the pay gap between men and women is large and widening.
The forum resumes today with more round-table discussions on building a start-up eco-system, entrepreneurship education and training, and finance and business consultancy services for start-ups in the region.
After the forum, a joint statement on promoting start-ups and MSMEs will be presented to the SME ministerial Meeting.—VNS