Are We Up For It?: Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Munir Majid from Malaysia Weighs in on ASEAN Integration and MSME Development

April 17th, 2017
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Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Munir Majid of ASEAN BAC Malaysia.

On April 28, 2017, Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Munir Majid will join ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Chair Joey Concepcion, Philippine Senator Miguel Zubiri, ASEAN-BAC Member Tessie Sy-Coson, and Filipino Tycoon and Philanthropist Manuel V. Pangilinan as panelists for a session moderated by BBC World News anchor Rico Hizon entitled Call to Action: Initiating ASEAN Mentors for Entrepreneurs Network at the Prosperity for All Summit in the City of Dreams, Manila.

A well-recognized figure in ASEAN discourse, Dr. Majid was the previous Chair of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, Malaysia.

The ASEAN Mentors for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) is a private-public partnership platform where mentors and world class teaching modules for micro, small and medium enterprise empowerment can be developed and actively shared among ASEAN Member States (AMS).

“AMEN is an excellent initiative by Go Negosyo and the Philippines,” Dr. Majid says, “The concentrated effort and focus will help MSMEs reach out and expand their businesses. There is no free lunch of course, but the guidance afforded them can provide linkages if there is a business fit. The mentor with his suite of activities may even find MSMEs that can supply, produce, market and sell goods and services for his business empire.”

Indeed, AMEN will open up a world of opportunities for entrepreneurs all over the region. “Information is king. First, to market is not just an expression. We must be aware that what ASEAN is into is free market and competition. This is the ethic of the ASEAN Economic Community,” Dr. Majid shares. “What initiatives like the mentorship program and the ASEAN MSME master plan are trying to do is to create as level a playing field as possible. But there is no avoiding there will be winners and losers. Are we up for it?

This raises the query of how exactly can MSMEs be further capacitated asides from mentorship and skills training. “Access to finance is key,” Dr. Majid stresses. “New forms of availability beyond the banks through e-finance platforms domestic and cross-border should be encouraged if ASEAN is serious about helping MSMEs.” Dr. Majid depicts a pragmatic picture of why finance is a primary focus area for the ASEAN. “[Financial services’] availability at reasonable rates would provide a solution to many other areas in which MSMEs are weak: good management and account-keeping; better use of technology in internal systems, production and sales; improving the standard of English, which is ASEAN’s business language (although there should be assistance through translations of more important information) – many of the things the mentorship program is designed to achieve.”

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The Prosperity for All Summit is organized by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, headed by its current Chair and the Philippine Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion. The summit is a one-day event focused on “Driving growth through micro and small entrepreneurs in Trade, Services and Agriculture”, and will be held in the City of Dreams, Manila, Philippines on April 28, 2017.

To register, accomplish the online form at www.tinyurl.com/AseanProsperityforAll-Public. For additional information on the Prosperity for All Summit, please contact: (+632) 6315001, email info@asean-bac.org, or visit www.gonegosyo.net.