Government and U.S. Companies Commemorate UN International SME Day and Offer Philippines SMEs with Mentorship Opportunities and Digital Learning Platform

Manila, The Philippines (June 27) - More than 200 owners and executives of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) from Manila and surrounding cities participated in a one-day workshop entitled “Empowering Philippines SMEs with Digital Tools and Mentorship Opportunities".

In conjunction with the United Nations (UN) International SME Day, the workshop was co-organized by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC), the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), and The Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT).

The workshop was officially opened by Philippines Secretary of Trade and Industry, Mr. Ramon M. Lopez; US Ambassador to the Philippines, The Honorable Sung Y. Kim; President of PCCI, Ms. Alegria S. Limjoco, and the US-ABC’s Philippines Senior Representative, Ms. Elizabeth Magsaysay-Crébassa.

The workshop also marked the new partnership launch of ASEAN SME Academy (or the Academy), following the management transition under DTI with the support of US-ABC. The Academy (www.asean-sme-academy.org) is a free online learning platform, offering free courses and resources from US-ABC member companies to help ASEAN MSMEs grow.

The workshop featured a panel session with a focus on the prospects and challenges to developing Philippines SMEs in the digital economy era, and featured distinguished speakers from government and private sectors, including Mr. Jerry T. Clavesillas, Director of DTI Bureau of Small & Medium Enterprise Development (DTI-BSMED); Ms. Jeannie Javelosa, Co-founder of ECHOStore and GREAT Women; Mr. May Arboleda-Cuevas, Head of the Privacy Commissioner Office of the National Privacy Commission, Mr. Collin Barry, Senior Associate of Booz Allen Hamilton Philippines, and Mr. John D. Peterson, Managing Director of FedEx Express Philippines.

Following the panel session, US-ABC member companies such as Cisco, FedEx, HP Inc., and Procter & Gamble shared their knowledge on improving the digital competitiveness of Philippines SMEs and introduced mentorship opportunities and services in doing e-commerce, including cross-border trade.

We are pleased that this workshop can showcase the commitment of U.S. business community in supporting the implementation of the Government’s MSME development agenda, in particular to providing SMEs with crucial technologies and access to global market.", said Ms. Elizabeth Magsaysay-Crébassa, US-ABC's Philippines Senior Representative.

“Digitization is enabling SMEs across ASEAN to participate in cross-border trade, allowing them to grow and scale their businesses while reducing costs. We at Cisco are excited to be US-ABC’s main partner for ASEAN SME capacity building program this year and play a role in creating digital ecosystems across the region for SMEs said Bidhan Roy, General Manager for ASEAN SMB Market & Distribution of Cisco Systems (USA) Pte Ltd. “

Today’s workshop extends US-ABC’s commitment to empowering ASEAN SMEs. Since 2011, more than 6,000 SMEs in all ten ASEAN countries have benefitted from US-ABC’s SME capacity building programs. Sectors covered by these programs include use of modern Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools, use of electronic payment systems, marketing, logistics, and promotion of women entrepreneurship.

For further information related to this workshop and other US-ABC activities, please contact Vinsensius Kangen atvkangen@usasean.org.

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For more than 30 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's 150+ membership generates over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.