(Jakarta, Indonesia) – On December 9, the US-ASEAN Business Council (the Council), in partnership with the Republic of Indonesia Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs and Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), conducted a webinar for Indonesian small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The event was part of the Council’s broader workshop series in response to the COVID-19 crisis. More than 150 Indonesian SMEs participated in the webinar themed around “Strengthening Indonesian SMEs’ Performance with Digitalization in Response to COVID-19.”
“With over 62 million SMEs across the country, it’s undeniable that the small businesses are an essential driver of Indonesia’s economy. We believe it is crucial to develop these small businesses to leverage their scale to boost the country’s economic and trade development. Unfortunately, these SMEs have suffered much more than any other business sector with around 87% of SMEs negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis,” said Amb. Michalak. “However, the pandemic has also been driving Indonesian shoppers online and the number of digital consumers has grown exponentially over the past two or three years,” he added, emphasizing the digital age momentum amid COVID-19 for SMEs.
The webinar was officially opened by Ambassador Michael Michalak, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director of the Council. His remarks were followed by remarks from Mr. Aldi Haryopratomo, Vice Chairman for Entrepreneurship of the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) as well as Mrs. Ir. Siti Azizah, MBA., Deputy of Entrepreneurship at the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs.
The webinar began with a panel discussion between the government and the private sector focused on the government’s strategies for SMEs to boost the digital creative economy agenda. Joining the discussion, Mrs. Fixy, S. E., Ak., M. Phil. - Assistant Deputy for Partnership and Market Expansion, Ministry of Cooperative and SME, Mr. M. Azhar Iskandar Zainal – Associate Policy Analyst and Coordinator for the Digital Economy Governance I, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, and Mr. Noudhy Valdryno – Public Policy Manager for Indonesia and Timor Leste, Meta. The speakers highlighted their initiatives to support Indonesian SMEs and explore collaborative ideas with the private sector.
"Meta has a mission to help business players in Indonesia continue to thrive during the pandemic. Although many SMEs are facing challenges, we are highly optimistic about the potential of the digital economy and its impact on SMEs,” Mr. Noudhy Valdryno from Meta said. “Going forward, we will continue to collaborate with partners and communities in Indonesia to expand the reach of our program further,” he concluded.
The webinar also featured training sessions from Meta and FedEx Express. The Meta session focused on how to optimize digital tools to support SMEs’ productivity, and provided an overview of how to understand the market and gain the right audience. FedEx Express presented on how to advance export-oriented Indonesian SMEs and gave an overview on export practices, product intelligence, as well as a FedEx Digital Solutions developed specifically for SMEs. The webinar ended with a breakout session where the audience engaged in discussion with Meta and FedEx representatives on their programs.
This is the second in-country training that the Council has conducted during COVID-19 focusing on Indonesian SMEs. The ongoing capacity building initiatives by ASEAN Member States (AMS) have been a key pillar of the Council for one decade now. In 2011, the Council established a training program for ASEAN small businesses in response to a request by the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) to support ASEAN small businesses in leveraging technology and the intra-global consumer and supply base. Currently, nearly 15,000 small businesses have benefitted from Council’s SME programs across the region.
In order to increase the Academy’s accessibility to entrepreneurs, the Council launched the online ASEAN SME Academy in 2016. The Online Academy is a self-help and self-paced learning platform for SMEs that provides access to free courses and resources from the Council’s member companies. The Academy is co-organized by the Philippines Department Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippines Trade Training Centre (PTTC) on behalf of the Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME). The Council is currently renovating the Academy website with plans to re-launch in 2022. One of the key changes is to create a more inclusive website by adding a Bahasa Indonesia language option for courses. Hopefully, with these improvements, more Indonesian SMEs can benefit and upskill themselves through this online learning platform. To read more about the academy and how to develop your SME, please visit www.asean-sme-academy.org.