U.S. Businesses Share Expertise with ASEAN’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through US-ABC's Online ASEAN SME Academy  

(Nha Trang) -  While joining the 7th ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME) Meeting, the US-ASEAN Business Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine Trade Training Centre on April 24 to formalize collaboration for the ASEAN SME Academy, an online resource platform for ASEAN MSMEs, which first launched in 2016. 

“This occasion marks an important milestone of our partnership in utilizing the ASEAN SME Academy,” said Ambassador Michael W. Michalak, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director at the US-ASEAN Business Council. “The fourth industrial revolution brings about challenges for small and medium-sized businesses, but also provides huge benefits if SMEs can embrace it.  One way to do so is by empowering them through the ASEAN SME Academy.”   

The ASEAN SME Academy is an initiative from the Council’s US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs, which focuses on supporting MSME development in ASEAN.  

“Through the MoU signifying the continuous support of the US-ASEAN Business Council, we are honored and committed to further enhance the development of the ASEAN SME Academy for the benefits of MSMEs in the region,” said Mr. Jerry T. Clavesillas, Director of Bureau of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Philippine Department of Trade and Industry.  

The publicly-accessible ASEAN SME Academy platform offers interactive training, mentoring, resources and business information for ASEAN MSMEs.  Materials on the platform are provided by U.S. businesses.  Since its launch, the ASEAN SME Academy has been visited by 143,000 individuals and retains more than 4,500 active users.    

“The ASEAN SME Academy has been a very tangible output of cooperation between ACCMSME and the US-ABC in promoting entrepreneurial education,” said Ms. Destry Anna Sari, ACCMSME Chair, in her welcoming remarks. “Nonetheless, more still needs to be done to improve and expand its benefits for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs in the region.”  

ASEAN MSMEs will be able to access Academy courses and tools covering subjects such as finance and accounting, management, marketing, operations, trade and logistics.  The Academy also assists MSMEs in finding networking opportunities and accessing region-specific information to further grow and upgrade business.   

“In this age of disruption and fast changing environment, the ASEAN SME Academy provides options for learning to busy entrepreneurs at their own time and pace.  This also enables them to update their knowledge and meet the challenge at fierce competition,” said Mr. Nestor Palabyab, Executive Director Philippine Trade Training Centre.  

Companies contributing materials offered in the Academy are Cisco, Baker Mckenzie, Facebook, Google, Mastercard, Microsoft, PayPal, HP Inc., Procter & Gamble, and FedEx. The training courses and business information will upgrade and expand over time. 

From left to right: Ms. Destry Anna Sari (Chair of ACCMSME, Acting Director of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, Ministry of Cooperative and SMEs, Indonesia), Ambassador Michael W. Michalak (Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director at the US-ASEAN Business Council), Mr. Jerry T. Clavesilla (Director IV, Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippines), and Mr. Nestor P. Palabyab (Executive Director, Philippine Trade Training Center).

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For 35 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 membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. 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.