U.S. Government helps ASEAN SMEs to Gain Access to Regional and Global Markets

Mr Alfredo M. Yao, President of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (right) meets with SMEs at the US-ASEAN Business All
Mr Alfredo M. Yao, President of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (right) meets with SMEs at the US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs workshop.
USAID ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment project

Regional and Global business leaders share insight with Asian entrepreneurs

For Immediate Release

Thursday, July 24, 2014
MANILA, July 24, 2014 – US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs (‘Business Alliance’) sponsors a workshop for 150 small business owners and entrepreneurs from the Metro Manila area today at the New World Makati Hotel. They learn from leading global companies such as Baker & McKenzie, through their partner firm in the Philippines, Quisumbing Torres, eBay Inc., PayPal, FedEx, Google, and Procter & Gamble (P&G) how to become part of regional and global supply chains using the latest technology and business management tools. 
The Business Alliance is a collaboration between the US-ASEAN Business Council and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This workshop is sponsored by the Business Alliance and organized in cooperation with the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), and the Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT) during July, the Philippines SME Month. The workshop transfers knowledge and skills to help SMEs manage their business more effectively gain access to regional and world markets through improved branding, technology, and logistics. 
“This workshop demonstrates the U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) continued commitment to help SMEs become more competitive as we work towards meeting our shared vision to achieve inclusive and resilient growth for Filipinos,” said Kevin Sharp, Deputy Office Chief, Office of Economic Development and Governance, USAID/Philippines.
DTI Undersecretary Zenaida C. Maglaya cited how like in most ASEAN countries, the SMEs in the Phillipines contribute significantly to the country’s economy, accounting for 99.6 percent of total registered enterprises, per recent Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) data. 
“In our efforts to achieve the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) goals in 2015, we endeavour to work on the great potential of our SMEs to further contribute to the economy. In this regard, we welcome initiatives such as the Business Alliance Workshop as means to boosting Philippine SMEs’ competitiveness to better fare in the regional and global supply chains,” Undersecretary Maglaya elaborated.
“This workshop is a great opportunity to share our story about firms in the Philippines as they realized that they must seek new markets beyond their borders,” said PCCI President, Alfredo M. Yao. "At the same time, there is a need for government and the private sector to heed the adoption of an industrial roadmap for Philippine industries to be able to compete with the forthcoming ASEAN integration. This should mainstream the enhancement of a competitive business environment where SMEs are able to participate effectively and benefit from the global production network being built by ASEAN with its trade partners and important export markets.”
“As regional and global competition intensifies, a venue to share best practices and tips on how to maximize opportunities and address constraints is very welcome for SMEs. Within this context, this workshop is very relevant, timely and consistent with our programs and advocacy to assist SMEs become more competitive and sustainable in this trading regime,” said President of PHILEXPORT, Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr.
The workshop provided SMEs the opportunity to have one-on-one sessions with experts from multi-national companies to explore ways to grow their businesses. Leading global companies like Baker & McKenzie, through their partner firm in the Philippines, Quisumbing Torres, eBay Inc., FedEx, Google, and Procter & Gamble are supporting the one-day workshop as part of the Business Alliance training program for SMEs. 
A written statement from Quisumbing Torres and Baker & McKenzie conveyed that they are honored to support this important program. “We help SMEs better understand regulatory and legal requirements to fully take advantage of global markets and to better navigate the expanding universe of e-commerce,” according to the statement. Google Philippines has also conveyed that it is a proud sponsor of the Business Alliance.
“Ecommerce or technology-enabled commerce lowers the barriers to trade and levels the playing field for retailers and enterprises of all sizes, especially SMEs,” said Wee Choo Hua, Senior Director for Southeast Asia Government Relations, eBay Inc. “With 149 million active buyers, e-commerce platforms such as eBay marketplaces enable local businesses to reach consumers from global markets and get paid safely with a trusted global payment solution like PayPal.”
“The growth of SME’s is critical to the economic development of the Philippines,” said Rhicke Jennings, managing director, FedEx Express Philippines and Indonesia. “At FedEx, we are committed to help small businesses by connecting them to the global market that offers new growth opportunities. This workshop enables us to leverage on our supply chain and logistics expertise to help them manage their businesses more efficiently.”
“P&G is very proud to have led the development of the US ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs and we are delighted that the program is now being launched in the Philippines. Small and Medium Enterprises are the growth engine of an economy and by helping to develop them we create the foundation of equitable economic development and sustained prosperity for everyone,” said P&G Distributing Phils, Inc. General Manager, Shankar Viswanathan. “Along with the USAID and USABC member companies, we are proud to have put together a platform providing a robust program of skills training and capability transfers for over 150 companies. We hope that the learning from this workshop will help Filipino SMEs accelerate their growth in the Philippines and in the region.”
The workshop also features local firms such as HanCole Corporation, KLT Fruits, Inc, and Splash Corporation that share their stories in achieving success in the region.
The Business Alliance will conduct other training activities in cities throughout the region in 2014. It is currently developing a cloud-based training and portal to support ASEAN SMEs to access and exchange valuable information that help to develop their businesses.