The US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs

In 2011 the US-ASEAN Business Council Institute established a training program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in response to a request by the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM).  Following the success of this program, the Institute, led by Procter & Gamble (P&G), United Parcel Services (UPS), Hewlett-Packard (HP), and Microsoft, partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Mission to ASEAN to launch the US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs in March 2014. The Business Alliance has two objectives:

  1. To improve the ASEAN SMEs’ capability to become more competitive in domestic markets, regional, and global markets.
  2. To improve accessibility and enhance ASEAN SMEs’ learning experience through one centralized platform and supporting program. 

Since its founding, the Business Alliance has administered training sessions on a range of topics to more than 21,000 SMEs in all 10 ASEAN Member States.  Click here for information on all past events.

Key Developments

In August 2014, the Alliance submitted a report to the ASEAN Economic Minsters (AEM) entitled “Beyond AEC 2015: Policy Recommendations for ASEAN SME Competitiveness” at the 46th AEM Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. The report offers the Business Alliance’s perspective on opportunities and challenges faced by ASEAN SMEs, as well as recommendations to help ASEAN realize its considerable economic potential.

In April 2016, to further expand the Council’s SME program in Vietnam, the Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). Through this MOU, the Council implemented five training programs throughout 2016 in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, and Can Tho. In September 2017, the Council plans to convene a major SME symposium alongside the APEC Ministerial Meeting.

In May 2016 the Business Alliance launched the ASEAN SME Academy, an online portal with interactive training, mentoring resources, and business information for ASEAN SMEs. The ASEAN Academy allows SMEs throughout the region to access high-quality training modules at any time, free of charge. Council Members supporting the Academy include Baker & McKenzie, Facebook, Google, HP, MasterCard, Microsoft, PayPal and P&G. The Academy can be accessed at http://www.asean-sme-academy.org/.

In April and November 2018, the Council participated in the 5th and 6th ASEAN Coordinating Committee Meetings on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME) in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR and Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. At these official engagements with SME government agencies across ASEAN, the Council presented the progress, future plans, and collaboration opportunities with the Council’s SME program. The meeting in Luang Prabang also marked the beginning of the handover process of the ASEAN SME Academy (the Academy) from USAID to the ACCMSME through the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry - Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (DTI-BSMED). Launched in 2016 by the Business Alliance, the Academy is co-administered by DTI-BSMED and the Council. Full handover press coverage is available here.

In 2019, US-ABC participated in the 7th and 8th ACCMSME Meeting in Nha Trang, Vietnam and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In Nha Trang, US-ABC signed a MOU with the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Trade Training Centre (PTTC) on April 24 to formalize collaboration for the ASEAN SME Academy.

Due to COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, US-ABC shift its in-country training into virtual ones due to the global pandemic with SME Webinar Series in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic. The first webinar was held in the Philippines, partnering with the DTI and PTTC. US-ABC also participated in the 10th ACCMSME Meeting that conducted virtually due to the pandemic.

In 2021, US-ABC continue to support ASEAN SMEs through participation in the 11th and 12th ACCMSME Meeting. The meeting in April officially marked the start of the ASEAN SME Academy revamping project by US-ABC alongside USAID under IGNITE. US-ABC also partnering with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia organized a webinar for ASEAN level with digital creative economy as its focus. This is the first SME Webinar Series conducted in ASEAN level and become a side event from ASEAN Creative Economy Business Forum 2021.

Since 2021, the ASEAN SME Academy website has been undergoing a revamping project as part of the partnership with USAID under IGNITE. This project aim to provide an upgraded online learning platform with new features such as accessibility in local languages, mobile access, new visual design, and more quality contents provided. As the pinnacle of the revamping project, the ASEAN SME Academy 2.0 was launched on April 8, 2022 in Office of Philippine Trade Training Center, Manila, Philippines. This launch event was organized by US-ASEAN Business Council, USAID-IGNITE, Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, and Philippine Trade Training Center with support from ACCMSME and ASEAN Secretariat.

As of June 2022, the Business Alliance has collaborated with more than 50 stakeholders ranging from government institutions and business and civil society associations, to regional and international organizations. These include the Lao Department of SME Promotion (DOSMEP); the Union of Myanmar Federated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI); the Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI); the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI); the Thailand Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP); SPRING Singapore; the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); the Indonesian Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs; the Vietnam Ministry of Planning and Industry; SME Corporation Malaysia; the ASEAN Business Advisory Council; the ASEAN Secretariat; and many more. There were 54 trainings held in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam with 13 of them were conducted virtually as part of SME Webinar Series in Response to COVID-19. Through the ASEAN SME Academy platform, currently there are over 95 courses and 375 additional online resources and garnering over 460,000 total online visitors and more than 9,500 active users regularly access the website from old website and gaining more than 4,200 total online visitors and over 900 people registering to the new website since April 2022.

For more information on the activities of the US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs, please contact Nugraheni Utami at utami@usasean.org and click here to access the factsheet of the program.

In addition to company support for specific programs, the Business Alliance is supported by:

2013 - 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
UPS UPS Coca-Cola
  Facebook      
  Coca-Cola      
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