(Hanoi) – The US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam (under the Enterprise Development Agency) and Vietnam Federation of Commerce and Industry held a capacity-building program for Vietnamese SMEs at the Pan Pacific Hotel, in Hanoi, Vietnam on December 2. The event also featured a speaker from the E-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency, Vietnam Ministry of Trade and Investment and was conducted in hybrid format. In total, around 190 Vietnamese entrepreneurs participated in the program. The workshop is part of the regular SME Workshop Series: Rebuilding the ASEAN Economy, and this was the 17th workshop conducted in Vietnam since 2014. This workshop was supported by US-ABC member companies: Visa, Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Meta, and United Parcel Service (UPS).
The workshop was officially opened with remarks from Ambassador Michael W. Michalak, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, US-ABC, and followed by Ms. Kim Vo, Economic Associate at the U. S. Embassy in Hanoi.
“Digital solutions have helped many sectors recover from the COVID-19 pandemic – particularly in Vietnam, where the country is recorded as the fastest growing digital economy in Southeast Asia this year,” said Amb. Michael W. Michalak. “US-ABC believes that our public-private cooperation is needed to provide a platform for Vietnamese SMEs to upscale digitally and take an active role in the global supply chain.”
Digital transformation has been promoted by the Vietnamese government to support SMEs to not only help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to drive business-centric innovation to increase productivity and competitive advantage in the global value chain. Driven to provide the necessary support for those aims, US-ABC joined hands with its member companies to provide technical capacity-building to help Vietnamese SMEs accelerate their global readiness and participate in the digital global value chain.
During the workshop, Ms. Bui Thu Thuy, Deputy Director-General of Enterprise Development Agency, Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam, and Ms. Le Thi Ha, Head of Legal Division, E-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency, Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam shared the updates around National Digital Transformation Program and Law on Support for SMEs during the policy dialogue as the first session of the workshop. The session was moderated by Ms. Bui Kim Thuy, Senior Country Representative of Vietnam, US-ABC.
Moreover, the second session was followed by a company showcase from Visa, Google, and UPS. During this session, each company shared necessary insights in preparing Vietnamese SMEs for global market readiness. The session featured Mr. Luu Tuan Nghia, Business Development, Merchant Sales & Acquiring, Visa Vietnam & Laos; Ms. Duong Kim Oanh, Business Development, Visa Business Solutions, Visa Vietnam & Laos; Ms. Jiao Chen, Head of International Growth, GCS, Google JAPAC; and Ms. Huong Dinh, Head of Public Affairs, UPS Vietnam. The session was moderated by Mr. Nguyen Tuan Hai, Director General of the International Relations Department, Vietnam Federation of Commerce and Industry.
“Both as buyers and sellers, SMEs are facing increased operating challenges in today’s digital-first world. Only if they can tap into new digital data capabilities and digitalize their product offering will they thrive. Through a simple and fast digital onboarding process, the Visa SMB Acceleration Program offers SMEs the tools to unlock the power of digital payments for their business. Beyond a simple business solution, the program also offers SMEs access to a network of fintech partners who can support them with the core capabilities for their growth,” said Ms. Dung Dang, Visa Country Manager of Vietnam and Laos.
“Southeast Asia's growing digital economy has created opportunities for SMBs in the region to thrive. We will continue to help SMBs harness the opportunities of digital trade through our tools, programs and partnerships,” said Mr. Ryan Rahardjo, Head of Public Affairs for Southeast Asia and South Asia, Google.
“As a global logistics provider and leading advocate for cross-border trade, we will continue to use the strength, scale and flexibility of the UPS network to help small businesses in Vietnam achieve their global growth ambitions,” said Squall Wang, Managing Director, UPS Vietnam. “We understand that, for SMEs in particular, expanding internationally can seem like a big and complicated step, but it is also a huge opportunity. The UPS network, combined with our complete portfolio of services, tools, and customs brokerage experience can remove the complexity, leaving our customers to focus on growing their business, and turning that opportunity into reality.”
The ongoing capacity-building initiatives in the ASEAN Member States (AMS) have been a key pillar of the US-ABC since 2011 in response to the request by ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM). The aim of the SME program is to support ASEAN SMEs in leveraging technology and the intra-global consumer and supply base. In addition to the training activities, the ASEAN SME Academy (the Academy) - free online learning platform for SMEs was created and co-administered with the Philippines Department Trade and Industry (DTI) and Philippine Trade Training Centre (PTTC) on behalf of the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME).