Strengthening regional structures to promote small and medium-sized enterprises in ASEAN
Title: Strengthening regional SME support structures in ASEAN
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Viet Nam
Lead executing agency: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Overall term: 2018 to 2022
Lack of awareness and limited availability of information on how to tap into markets in and beyond the region remain the key challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the countries of the ASEAN region. The region comprises countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei.
Without knowledge of international requirements and standards, SMEs often struggle to participate in regional or global value chains. This hampers their growth. Better access to the relevant information and networks is important. Capacity-building programmes aimed at internationalisation also play a crucial role in improving market access.
To underline the importance of SMEs for most economies in the ASEAN region, key documents such as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025 and the respective Strategic Action Plan for SME Development (SAPSMED) 2025 focus strongly on promoting SMEs. SAPSMED outlines important initiatives and results to increase the competitiveness and resilience of SMEs and enable them to reap the benefits of regional integration within the ASEAN region.
Working closely with the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME), the project supports the implementation of SAPSMED 2025. There is a special focus on improving market access and internationalising SMEs. The project also focuses on improving policies and the regulatory environment.
The information and support available to small and medium-sized enterprises as part of the ASEAN SME strategy for economic integration has been improved.
The project will cooperate with the national representatives and members of the ACCMSME as the lead specialist committee. They will act as mediators vis-à-vis the public and private actors in the ASEAN member countries.
They will work in the following thematic areas:
- Improving the ASEAN SME Service Centre
- Strengthening the national SME information centres
- Promoting national SME services for internationalisation
The needs of SMEs in the context of the ASEAN Economic Community are the primary focus. The main beneficiaries of the project are therefore the owners and employees of SMEs in the ASEAN member states with potential for internationalisation.