Archive for the ‘ASEAN’ Category

Insights on Start-ups, Financial Inclusion and MSMEs from Jojo Flores

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

jojo_flores
Jojo Flores is one of the top influencers in the Philippine start-up community. On April 28, 2017, he will be joining Dr. Aristotle Alip, Founder and Managing Director of CARD-MRI, Landbank President and CEO Alex Bueneventura, and Dr. Raymond Kwong from Malaysia, the CEO and Managing Director of Silverlake Axis Group of Companies, in a panel discussion about financial inclusion for micro, small and medium enterprises at the Prosperity for All Summit.

Jojo Flores has earned his clout in the local start-up community as Co-Founder of Launchgarage, a tech-focused start-up innovation hub and incubator that is home to the likes of Medifi, Tralulu and Taxumo. Internationally, he is also known as the Co-Founder and Vice President of Plug and Play Technology Center, the world’s largest start-up accelerator based in the mecca of innovation— Silicon Valley. In just a little over a decade since its inception, Plug and Play Technologies has raised in excess of $2.2 billion USD.

Flores’ extensive knowledge on start-ups, incubation and funding, is integral to facilitating the discussion of improving the funding mechanisms for start-ups in the region.

PFA Summit Panelists Per Session_03
“We currently face a market gap between startups and traditional funding institutions in the Philippines.  With the absence of credit history and collateral, startups encounter challenges in raising money or loans from banks.  Further, it is common that financial institutions don’t fully understand disruptive technologies.  Thus, banks need to educate themselves in exploiting this opportunity,” Flores shared.

Flores also observes that the main challenge for ASEAN regulations being set-up for start-up funding is “[alighting] taxes and [providing] incentives between the ASEAN nations.”  He cites Singapore as the hotspot for start-ups and new funds because of its friendlier terms, ease of doing business, and exits.

Looking forward, Flores sees a positive outlook for the future of financing when it comes to start-ups. “There are a number of opportunities, but one that is popular and trending now is in the area of block chain technology.  There are great potentials for better economics and security, not only for MSMEs but also for their target markets.”

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Prosperity for All Summit Web Image
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 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.

The summit is expected to be a gathering of enablers from both the private and public sectors in view of MSME development. It will also be the initial meeting to lay out the blueprint for the ASEAN Business Advisory Council’s regional mentorship program, AMEN, and an avenue for leaders and heads of states to share their plans on achieving inclusive growth and prosperity not only in their own respective countries, but also in the region, collectively.

ASEAN BAC & ASEAN Japan Business Council Established ASEAN-Japan Innovation Network

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
ASEAN Business Advisory Chairman Joey Concepcion and Vice Chairman of ASEAN Japan Business Council and Chairman of Sumitomo Corporation Kazuo Ohmori presented the signed Memorandum of Cooperation for the ASEAN Japan Innovation Network (AJIN). AJIN is a private sector led initiative for promoting innovation across sectors and industries including digital business platforms for MSMES and emerging industries. Witnessing the presentation are the ASEAN Economic Ministers led by the 2017 Chair, Department of Trade and Industry Sec. Ramon Lopez.

ASEAN Business Advisory Chairman Joey Concepcion and Vice Chairman of ASEAN Japan Business Council and Chairman of Sumitomo Corporation Kazuo Ohmori presented the signed Memorandum of Cooperation for the ASEAN Japan Innovation Network (AJIN). AJIN is a private sector led initiative for promoting innovation across sectors and industries including digital business platforms for MSMES and emerging industries. Witnessing the presentation are the ASEAN Economic Ministers led by the 2017 Chair, Department of Trade and Industry Sec. Ramon Lopez.

The ASEAN Business Advisory Council, led by its Chairman, Joey Concepcion III, and the ASEAN Business Club, represented by its Chair, Tan Sri Dr. Munir, joined forces with leading Japanese private business organizations in establishing the ASEAN-Japan Innovation Network (AJIN) in Tokyo last April 7, 2017. AJIN aims to promote innovation across key sectors in ASEAN especially in support of emerging new digital driven industries through collaboration and cooperation between ASEAN-Japan businesses.

This collaboration was highlighted by the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation.  Mr. Concepcion representing ASEAN business and Mr. Kazuo Ohmori, Vice Chair of Asean Japan Business Council led the signing of the MoC.  Nine collaborating Japanese institutions co-signed the MoC namely: 1) ASEAN Japan Business Council, 2) The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 3) KEIDANREN (Japan Business Federation), 4) KEIZAI DOYUKAI (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), 5) Japan Foreign Trade Council, 6) Japan Association of New Economy, 7) Japan External Trade Organization, 8) Federation of Japanese Chambers of Commerce and Industry in ASEAN, and 9) Japan-ASEAN Innovation Support Network.

The signing of memorandum of cooperation happened last April 7, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.

The signing of memorandum of cooperation happened last April 7, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.

In the photo (L-R): Mr. Jun Hasegawa, Representative Director of Japan-ASEAN Innovation Support Network; Mr. Tsukasa Kawazu, Executive Managing Director of Japan Foreign Trade Council, Inc.; Dr. Kiyohiko Ito, Managing Director of KEIZAI DOYUKAI; Mr. Satoshi Mukuta, Senior Managing Director of KEIDANREN; Mr. Kazuo Ohmori, Vice Chairman of The Japan Section of the ASEAN-Japan Business Council; Mr. Joey Concepcion, Chairman of ASEAN Business Advisory Council; Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Munir, Chair of ASEAN BAC Malaysia; Dr. Yuri Sato, Executive Vice President of Japan External Trade Organization; and Mr. Takashi Ueno, Vice Chairman of The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In the photo (L-R): Mr. Jun Hasegawa, Representative Director of Japan-ASEAN Innovation Support Network; Mr. Tsukasa Kawazu, Executive Managing Director of Japan Foreign Trade Council, Inc.; Dr. Kiyohiko Ito, Managing Director of KEIZAI DOYUKAI; Mr. Satoshi Mukuta, Senior Managing Director of KEIDANREN; Mr. Kazuo Ohmori, Vice Chairman of The Japan Section of the ASEAN-Japan Business Council; Mr. Joey Concepcion, Chairman of ASEAN Business Advisory Council; Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Munir, Chair of ASEAN BAC Malaysia; Dr. Yuri Sato, Executive Vice President of Japan External Trade Organization; and Mr. Takashi Ueno, Vice Chairman of The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The signed MoC was thereafter presented formally at the start of a full packed ASEAN-Japan Open Innovation Forum with the presence and strong support of all the ASEAN Economic Ministers led by the 2017 AEM Chair Ramon Lopez of the Philippines.

The AJIN initiative was a culmination of Japan’s private sector engagement and dialogue with new industries which started in Naypyidaw, Myanmar in 2014 (on Green Healthcare), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2015 (on Venture Start up) and Bangkok, Thailand in 2016 (Service Sector).  For 2017, the AJIN serves as an ideal platform to bring about concrete programs in support of the Philippine government’s theme of an Innovation-driven economy and ASEAN BAC’s focus on MSME Empowerment and Inclusive Business towards Prosperity for All.

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

Monday, 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.”

Prosperity for All Summit Web Image
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.

Going Global: ASEAN and the Future of MSMEs

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

Radio Synthesis 07 Dr
Last March 29, 2017, Go Negosyo Radyo hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla were joined by ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) Executive Director Gil Gonzales and ASEAN Business Advisory Council Malaysia member and former Chair, Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Munir Majid for the weekly episode of Go Negosyo sa Radyo on DZRH.

The prominent guests who are experts in the topic of business and the ASEAN, took upon the task of explaining the ASEAN, the ASEAN Economic Community, and integration to our listeners. Oftentimes, the nuanced and complex structure of the ASEAN can leave many Filipinos confused and consequently, misinformed of what the ASEAN and the forthcoming economic interdependence implies.

Many Filipino negosyantes wonder — how can foreign entrants into the Filipino market be beneficial for a small business like mine? Isn’t it anti-Filipino to make it harder for us micro and small enterprises to compete globally?

In the discussion between our hosts and guests, Executive Director Gonzales and Dr. Munir Majid shared insights to help Filipinos understand the real benefits and challenges presented by the changes brought about by ASEAN. Addressing the fears of the Filipinos, Dr. Munir Majid said “Why are you afraid? It’s not just ASEAN countries, but the whole integrated movement is worldwide. It’s happening everywhere — so we really must compete. Don’t be afraid—if you’re afraid you will lose. Take advantage of the financial advances and technologies that will be made more available.”

Gonzales also weighed in on the matter, saying “The fear is there because there is a lack of awareness of knowledge. But we have the support of the government and the private sector. The conversation about ASEAN needs to be alive and widespread, but we also have to progress; we have to move the conversation to how we can take advantage of the changing and opening market.”

“We have to be tough, we have to wish to be competitive! But there’s also lots of support especially from DTI and other government agencies,” Gonzalez added.

When asked how businesses can start to prepare for the changes, Gonzales said “First things first, you have to ask: who are my competitors? Go to PCCI and look for the association that corresponds to your business. Then look at who else in ASEAN does the same thing as you. The thinking should be partnerships rather than fighting for the market. We have to partner to raise our quality, standards, and production so we can reach global standards and penetrate the global market.”

Dr. Majid added “The various standards that different countries have could become a problem. To address this, one initiative is that we should have common standards. Agri-food business is something we’re concentrating on. For example, we’re removing certain tariff barriers. You really have to look at other countries and look at your competition. Assess how you can be efficient in your area because only then can you expand.”

In terms of the different institutions the MSMEs can approach for help, Dr. Majid said “Go Negosyo’s mentorship program is something great that [The Philippines] has because you get to sell and provide for an existing supply-chain. Another, is GAX a loan platform form Malaysia. Trade associations and your local chambers of commerce are also good starting points to look for assistance and to map out businesses similar to yours. Everybody is involved in the ASEAN Economic Agenda.”

Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Munir Majid

Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Munir Majid

In photo (L-R): ASEAN BAC Malaysia Member Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Munir Majid, DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla, ASEAN BAC Executive Director Gil Gonzales and Sen. Bam Aquino.

In photo (L-R): ASEAN BAC Malaysia Member Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Munir Majid, DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla, ASEAN BAC Executive Director Gil Gonzales and Sen. Bam Aquino.

So, what’s next for the ASEAN?
Dr. Majid posits that the “downside when your market is big, is that you sometimes want to get out. Philippines is quite behind in terms of tourism compared to other ASEAN countries and that’s something we can focus on.” Also, important events focused on business are the ASEAN Business and Investments Summit and the upcoming MSME Summit entitled Prosperity for All (read: ASEAN Summit on MSME Development in Manila).

Other future initiatives that were discussed was the ASEAN Mentors for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN), which takes inspiration from the Kapatid Mentor Me Program and its capacity to link up the supply chains of the big and small.

Dr. Majid and Gonzales shared that the ASEAN, at its current rate of growth, could be the 4th biggest economy in the world by 2030.

The final question addressed by the ASEAN-BAC Executive Director was the supposed isolation of the Philippines. Gonzales agreed that the PH is a little isolated “It’s a little like Britain in the EU. But the distance is now being reduced and the markets are being brought closer together. So the distance will become less and less significant. That’s why there is a growing need for architects and engineers in order to boost the infrastructure development of the region.”

Dr. Majid, who was the previous ASEAN-BAC Chair, was asked what advise he had for current ASEAN-BAC Chair Joey Concepcion. “Joey is an old hand, he’s a great guy and he’s pursuing the MSME and shared prosperity targets. He has the support of Gil who’s a great management man. We have a lot of support from this council. If I can say one thing: Go Get! Make it Happen!

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Prosperity for All Summit Web Image
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 or  info@asean-bac.org, or visit www.gonegosyo.net. 

Senator Bam Aquino’s Personal Insights on MSME Development

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017
Photo courtesy of Sen. Bam Aquino's official Facebook Page.

Photo courtesy of Sen. Bam Aquino’s official Facebook Page.

Senator Bam Aquino, as the youngest Senator currently seated in the Philippine senate, is a staunch advocate of capacitating and empowering micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. He has authored the Go Negosyo Act in the Philippines wherein the establishment of negosyo centers (one-stop shops for an entrepreneur’s varying needs) is mandated in all provinces, cities, and municipalities. Furthermore, Senator Bam Aquino has championed other initiatives to fast-track and aid the development of MSMEs such as lowering their tax rates and consolidating MSME assistance programs.

On April 28, Sen. Aquino will be joining four other panelists in a session moderated by Cathy Yang entitled Creating an Enabling Environment in Achieving Prosperity For All. This session aims to present the current environment and ecosystem for micro, small and medium entrepreneurs from the perspective of the enablers both from the private and public sectors respectively. It also aims to present the current programs of the speakers and how these affect and shape a more enabling business environment.

In a short interview, Sen. Aquino gave his brief insights on the upcoming summit and MSME development.

Q:  In your perspective, what constitutes as an “enabling environment” for the micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs?

BA: An enabling business environment is one that minimizes barriers to success and encourages more Filipinos to build a sustainable business.

In my work with sari-sari store owners as a social entrepreneur, I found that there are 3 key areas of support that every entrepreneur needs to succeed – the 3Ms. These are Money, Market and Mentorship.

For Money, entrepreneurs – from micro to small and medium – need access to financing with reasonable interest rates to meet their capital requirements.

Access to markets, the second M, is another critical element in building a sustainable business. An environment where it easy to enter markets and where market linkage is strong is an environment that enables the growth of MSMEs.

The third M, Mentorship, refers to the training and strengthening of entrepreneurial skills. More importantly, mentorship provides moral and technical support for our MSMEs. Any entrepreneur will tell you that growing a business is not easy. Having mentors and a support group of fellow entrepreneurs to guide and push you can bring you closer to success.

To create an enabling environment, we need to ensure that MSMEs have easy access to these 3Ms.

But it’s also important to note that the government has a role to play, not just in empowering MSMEs with the 3Ms but also in ensuring that government regulations and processes do not hinder the growth of startups and MSMEs.

Government should, for example, strive to minimize red tape and simplify taxation.

Q: Can you give us an example of one of your initiatives/programs that directly contributes to an enabling environment for MSMEs?

BA: My first 3 years as a senator was dedicated to the development of the MSME sector. In fact, 6 out of 17 laws that we passed are in support of MSMEs. The very first law that our office passed, with the help of Go Negosyo, was the Go Negosyo Act.This law mandates that every municipality in the Philippines will have a Negosyo Center where Pinoy entrepreneurs can receive support from qualified business counselors – from trainings in basic accounting, to product design, market linkages, and access to financing. We envisioned entrepreneur hubs where every Filipino can gain access to the 3Ms and can be assured of success in their business.

To date, there are 470 Negosyo Centers up and running that are a joint effort between local government units and the DTI. These Negosyo Centers have serviced 750,000 Filipinos and will continue to grow and improve the quality of their service.

We also have the Microfinance NGOs Act and the Credit Surety Fund Cooperative Act to enable better access to financing for micro to small enterprises. There is the Youth Entrepreneurship Act that mandates entrepreneurship and financial literacy training in our schools so young Filipinos have the basic knowledge to start a business.

Lastly, the Philippine Competition Act and the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act are 2 landmark legislations that help MSMEs become more competitive in the local market.

Q: What aspect/s of the Prosperity for All Summit are you most looking forward to?

BA: I’m looking forward to learning about new ways to empower Pinoy MSMEs to scale-up and penetrate the ASEAN market. I’m also excited to hear about the new opportunities for MSMEs in the region.

It will be interesting to learn from our neighbors about innovations and best practices in the private sector, in legislation, and in government. On the other hand, we are happy to share the positive experience we’ve had working hand-in-hand with MSMEs here in the Philippines.

I’m hopeful that through this summit, we can form stronger partnerships, learn together, and grow together as a united ASEAN.

Prosperity for All Summit Web Image
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 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 or  info@asean-bac.org, or visit www.gonegosyo.net.

DTI Pushes for Inclusive, Innovation-led Growth in ASEAN

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

by Secretary Ramon Lopez

The Philippines, as one of the founding members of ASEAN, takes pride in hosting this year’s regional meet, which has the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.” Given that the organization is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, we are also fortunate that we’ve been provided with an opportunity to strategically champion our advocacies within the region.

On top of our agenda is steering the ASEAN to full economic integration through greater trade and investment among our fellow ASEAN Member States.

Despite concerns that our country would lose in terms of trade or employment opportunities because of the ASEAN integration, the Philippines is actually well positioned to take advantage of it. Among our country’s many strengths, we have our robust economic performance, improving competitiveness, and a huge supply of English-speaking workforce.

The integration will likewise provide an opportunity for Philippine industries and services to become a major player in the ASEAN region, even as it offers a bigger market for Philippine businesses.

Through our chairship, we also wish to reach the conclusion for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that will link the ASEAN–an economic powerhouse with a market of 600 million people–to its six Dialogue Partners. This would create an even bigger market of 3.5 billion people.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte officially opens the ASEAN 2017 Business and Investment Program.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte officially opens the ASEAN 2017 Business and Investment Program.

What does this all mean for the average Filipino? For consumers, this means more variety of goods and services at cheaper prices. For producers, this means cheaper prices of imports–which translates to more competitive prices for their products. For investors, this means having a single production base, even with the ASEAN’s diversity with regard to capital, expertise, labor, and resources.

Of course, we cannot forget our micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs), who are at the front and center of our current trade agenda. For them, integration means Philippine products and services having easier access to the larger markets of the ASEAN and RCEP, while also heightening their competitiveness.

Yours truly will serve as the chair of the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting even as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) chairs the ASEAN Committee on Business and Investment Promotion (CBIP). The latter committee will engage the international business community, the government, and other parties, as well as organize business and investment-related activities.

Last January 24, DTI officially unveiled business programs and events that will complement the Philippines’ priorities under the AEC pillar. These are regulatory coherence; micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs); innovation; and women and youth.

Among the thematic priorities developed by the Philippines for its ASEAN 2017 hosting, DTI’s priority agenda of “inclusive, innovation-led growth” is poised to champion the MSME mandate in the ASEAN through the following strategic measures: (1) increasing trade and investment; (2) integrating MSMEs in the digital economy; and (3) developing an innovation-driven economy.

In these endeavors, all of you, our partners, can help the government promote the Philippine hosting of ASEAN, as well as the ASEAN identity, to the greater number of Filipinos.

ASEAN Summit for MSME Development in Manila

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Prosperity for All Summit Web Image
MANILA, 23 March 2017: In honor of 50 years of growing ASEAN integration and progress, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) presents the PROSPERITY FOR ALL SUMMIT—a one-day event focused on “Driving growth through micro and small entrepreneurs in Trade, Services and Agriculture”, happening in the City of Dreams, Manila, Philippines on April 28, 2017.

The establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has created both opportunities and challenges for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the region. Thus, the need to strategically equip MSMEs with the right tools has risen in order to enable them to engage in the increasing competitiveness of the business environment.

Last 2015, the 26th ASEAN Summit held in Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi, Malaysia exposed the need to put these MSMEs at the center of the ASEAN agenda. To address this need, the community is working to consolidate the efforts of enablers from the public & private sector in light of advancing MSME development and empowerment in the region.

“We’re expecting delegates from all of the 10 ASEAN countries to attend this momentous summit—along with the ASEAN-BAC members from other countries who are business leaders and innovators in their respective areas,” says the current ASEAN-BAC Chair, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

The PROSPERITY FOR ALL SUMMIT aims to pursue genuine and inclusive growth & prosperity for the entire ASEAN community. The whole-day event’s program is composed of keynote speeches from renowned ASEAN leaders and five main sessions, namely:

1. CREATING AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT IN ACHIEVING PROSPERITY FOR ALL
Great strides have been made over the years to support micro, small and medium enterprises but there remain to be many challenges in the path toward competitiveness and doing business across the region, especially in trade, services and agriculture. This session aims to discuss these challenges and surface efforts to make adjustments and institutionalize these through policy and new initiatives.

PFA Summit Panelists Per Session_01
2. WHERE’S THE MARKET? STRENGTHENING THE ONE ASEAN MARKET TO ACCESS GLOBAL MARKETS
The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) offers a rich and complex array of goods and services that have been actively exchanged within the region for decades. Looking beyond AEC, this session aims to present the ASEAN Market as an economic powerhouse with continually growing global economic opportunities brought about by regional integration.

PFA Summit Panelists Per Session_02 V2

3. WHERE’S THE FUNDING? OPENING UP INNOVATIVE AND INCLUSIVE FINANCING OPTIONS FOR MICRO AND SMALL ENTREPRENEURS
Critical in achieving genuine inclusive growth, the panel will facilitate deeper and broader understanding of innovative and inclusive options that address capital and operational funding for entrepreneurial initiatives. Their stories give clues on how accessible and viable these programs really are for micro, small and medium entrepreneurs.

PFA Summit Panelists Per Session_03

4. HOW DO WE TRANSFORM? ESTABLISHING EFFICIENT BUSINESS PRACTICES THROUGH DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
Many technology platforms and process innovations to deliver goods and services are introduced to the market everyday at nano speed, but which of these are truly effective in changing patterns of doing and driving growth? This panel discusses recently introduced channels and disruptive technologies purported to be the “next big thing” and power the region’s accelerated economic progress.

PFA Summit Panelists Per Session_04

5. CALL TO ACTION: INITIATING ASEAN MENTORSHIP FOR ENTREPRENEURS NETWORK (AMEN)As ASEAN Business Advisory prepares to launch the ASEAN Mentorship For Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN), 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, this panel of senior executives and leaders will highlight the significance of mentorship for entrepreneurs in their bid for a successful, relevant and economically rewarding role in the AEC framework.

PFA Summit Panelists Per Session_05
PFA Summit Moderators
The PROSPERITY FOR ALL SUMMIT is expected to be a gathering of enablers from both the private and public sectors in view of MSME development. It will also be the initial meeting to lay out the blueprint for the ASEAN Business Advisory Council’s regional mentorship program, AMEN, and an avenue for leaders and heads of states to share their plans on achieving inclusive growth and prosperity not only in their own respective countries, but also in the region, collectively.

ASEAN-BAC Chair Joey Concepcion further discloses that “we (ASEAN-BAC) have invited all ten ASEAN state leaders from our neighboring ASEAN countries to participate in the exchange of best practices and initiatives for MSME development. It is no question that this coming together of all ASEAN nations to empower our MSMEs is integral to achieving prosperity for all.”

For additional information on the Prosperity for All Summit, please contact: (+632) 631-5001 or  email info@asean-bac.org, or visit www.gonegosyo.net. 

ASEAN BAC Presents 2017 and Medium Term AEC Agenda to ASEAN Economic Ministers

Saturday, March 18th, 2017
ASEAN Business Advisory Council Chairman Joey Concepcion led the presentation of plans and programs of ASEAN BAC during the engagement with the ASEAN Economic Ministers headed by its Chair, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

ASEAN Business Advisory Council Chairman Joey Concepcion led the presentation of plans and programs of ASEAN BAC during the engagement with the ASEAN Economic Ministers headed by its Chair, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

On the occasion of the Philippine hosting of the 23rd ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Retreat and Related Meetings, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC), led by its 2017 Chairman Joey Concepcion, presented its priority agenda to the AEM last March 9, 2017 at Conrad Hotel Manila.  Mr. Concepcion briefed the AEM on the elements and motivation behind ASEAN BAC’s 2017 theme of Engaging the World, Prosperity for All. He said “The economic integration effort would be meaningless if the economic rewards of growth and prosperity will exclude the MSMEs which account for almost 95-99% of total enterprises across ASEAN.”  As the backbone of the region’s economic engine, he explained that the following three key pillars will have to interplay and complement each other:

a.) Promote and deepen the role of Inclusive Business where big corporates serve as big brothers to micro and small enterprises and likewise deliberately integrating the poor and low-income communities as suppliers, customers and employees as part of their core businesses;

b.) Empower and prepare MSMEs thru effective mentoring provided by successful entrepreneurs covering access to finance, markets, innovation, and other requirements to make them more productive and competitive;

c.) Continued government support both in policy reforms and programs to provide the enabling environment where MSME competitiveness can thrive.

Dr. Munir Majid, ASEAN BAC Chair for Malaysia, presented to the AEM alternatives for MSME financing which is IT based and is more responsive to the needs and conditions of MSMEs. He said “The current interest rate levels in ASEAN has given rise to small investors who are more open to invest outside their countries and are willing to invest or provide lending at credit-worthy MSME projects and which have big potentials in penetrating the ASEAN market.”

Another exciting fast and easy-to-access finance platform for MSMEs that Malaysia is pursuing across the region is the setting up of the Growth Accelerator Exchange or GAX.  It’s a digital and data mining infrastructure that puts together the three basic solutions necessary for MSME growth, namely e-Financing, e-Payment and  e-Logistics Services.

Dr. Robert Yap, ASEAN BAC Chair for Singapore, presented to the AEM the concrete actions plans in establishing genuine ASEAN Connectivity.  He enumerated the connectivity related legacy projects of ASEAN BAC starting with Financial Connectivity (Malaysia in 2015); followed by the Laos Land-Based Connect Project (Laos in 2016); the Philippine Maritime Connectivity Project with Indonesia (2017) and the establishment of A Knowledge and Skills Connectivity thru the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN).

ASEAN BAC Chair Joey Concepcion (right) and member Douglas Foo (2nd from left) and Dr. Robert Yap (middle) chatted with Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez (left) and Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang (2nd from right).

ASEAN BAC Chair Joey Concepcion (right) and member Douglas Foo (2nd from left) and Dr. Robert Yap (middle) chatted with Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez (left) and Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang (2nd from right).

(LEFT) Dr. Robert Yap, ASEAN BAC Chair for Singapore, presented to the AEM the concrete actions plans in establishing genuine ASEAN Connectivity. (RIGHT) Dr. Mohd Munir presented before to the AEM the alternatives for MSME Financing while ASEAN BAC Executive DirectorASEAN BAC Executive Director Gil Gonzales updated the AEM on the progress of deepening private sector engagement with various private public consultative working groups.

(LEFT) Dr. Robert Yap, ASEAN BAC Chair for Singapore, presented to the AEM the concrete actions plans in establishing genuine ASEAN Connectivity. (RIGHT) Dr. Mohd Munir presented before to the AEM the alternatives for MSME Financing while ASEAN BAC Executive DirectorASEAN BAC Executive Director Gil Gonzales updated the AEM on the progress of deepening private sector engagement with various private public consultative working groups.

Lastly, Mr. Gil Gonzales, ASEAN BAC Executive Director, updated the AEM on the progress of deepening private sector engagement with various private public consultative working groups.  He reported that ASEAN BAC’s 5 priority and people-centric sectors of Healthcare, Agri-Food, Logistics, Tourism and Retail are now aligned with corresponding consultative working groups.  For cross-cutting issues, he said that “ASEAN BAC is happy to report the very enthusiastic support of other Business Council Dialogue Partners in taking leadership in key areas as Trade Facilitation, Financial Inclusion, and in Innovation.”  He also impressed the continuing clamor from business to facilitate completion of other key pending reforms and recommendations which the council has presented over the years such as the ASEAN Single Window, ASEAN Business Travel Card and all pending 2015 deliverables, among others.
The AEM Chair, Sec. Ramon Lopez of the Philippines and different Economic Ministers took turns in expressing their gratitude and commendation to the Council for its focus on MSMEs and Connectivity as effective drivers of change that should lead to faster and more inclusive prosperity in ASEAN.  They also highly appreciated the deeper engagement of ASEAN BAC in putting together the voice and strength of its private sector partners in helping push and hasten the realization of AEC goals and aspirations.

Other members of the Council who were in attendance were:  Mr. Arin Jira (Thailand Chair), Mr. Douglas Foo (Singapore), Mr. Somyod Tangleemalep (EABC Thailand), Mr Xaybandith Rasphone (Lao PDR), Dato’ Ramesh Kodammal (Malaysia).

ASEAN Business Awards 2017: Philippine Nominations Now Open

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The search is under way for the best Philippine companies that will go on to compete in this year’s ASEAN Business Awards.

As the hosts of ASEAN 2017, the ABA will take place in Okada Manila, Parañaque City, Philippines on September 6, 2017. ASEAN-BAC Philippines, comprised of the current ASEAN-BAC Chair, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, and members Teresita Sy-Coson (SM Group) and George Barcelon (Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry) will spearhead the event.

Nominations are on-going and will be accepted by the Philippine secretariat of the ASEAN-BAC until June 15, 2017.

In its efforts to bridge ASEAN Governments with its private sectors, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) launched the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) in 2007 to give recognition to enterprises that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN economy.

In its efforts to bridge ASEAN Governments with its private sectors, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) launched the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) in 2007 to give recognition to enterprises that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN economy.

The contest is open to large corporations, as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs). There are three main categories broken down into further sub-categories. The SME Excellence Awards will award businesses according to the sub-categories of Growth, Employment, Innovation, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Another category is the 12 Priority Integration Sector Awards. Qualifiers for this award must exhibit outstanding performance in the sectors of Fisheries, Electronic, e-ASEAN / ICT, Textiles, Logistics, Wood-Based, Rubber, Agri-Food, Healthcare, Tourism, Automotive, Retail.

Lastly, the Special Awards category is composed of the Inclusive Business Award — given to business models that help alleviate the poverty and inclusion problem — and the Friend of ASEAN Award, which will be given to a non-ASEAN enterprise growing its presence within the region.

ABA brings to the spotlight promising and outstanding ASEAN companies that have the potential of becoming global economic players. “It is a privilege for our country to host the 50th anniversary of ASEAN. For this year, ASEAN Business Advisory Council is celebrating the 10th ASEAN Business Awards. This Awards recognizes outstanding ASEAN enterprises which have exemplary record of growth and success not only in their home country but also in our ASEAN member countries. Many companies and entrepreneurs have been awarded in the past years and we want to showcase more SMEs in the ASEAN platform. We encourage more enterprises from the ASEAN region to join this year’s search,” ASEAN-BAC Chair Joey Concepcion said.

The contest is part of the activities to mark ASEAN integration which brings the bloc’s 10 economies closer together.

ASEAN is made up of the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

For inquiries on ABA and the application process you may contact support@aba2017.com or visit the official website at www.aba2017.com. Application period is from March 13 to June 15, 2017.

ABA Timeline
ASEAN BAC Sponsors Updated March 13

DTI Supports Women in Tech Meet in Manila

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) together with the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Network (AWEN) will bring together women from ASEAN member states for a conference focused on Technology and Innovation. Photo courtesy of DTI Facebook page.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) together with the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Network (AWEN) will bring together women from ASEAN member states for a conference focused on Technology and Innovation. Photo courtesy of DTI Facebook page.

In line with the celebrations for the International Women’s Month in March, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) together with the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Network (AWEN) will bring together women from ASEAN member states for a conference focused on Technology and Innovation.  The Steering Committee is composed of representatives from the DTI, Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Women’s Business Council of the Philippines (WomenBizPH) in coordination with the ASEAN National Organizing Council (NOC).

As part of the ASEAN Business and Investment Program led by DTI, the event tagged as S.T.E.A.M. Ahead in ASEAN: A Forum for Women and Technology will be held on 16-17 March at the Microtel by Wyndham at the Mall of Asia in Manila. Delegates and speakers from the various ASEAN countries with representatives from Google and UPS are expected to be at the two-day event to give women more ideas about opportunities in careers centered on Technology and Innovation.

Studies have proven that women who pursue careers in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) are highly likely to earn 30% more income than in non-STEAM careers.

DTI, as a prime advocate of advancement of tech-driven businesses in the country, leads the conference as part of its SLINGSHOT program that aims to help the growth and development of the startup community in the Philippines.

ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Network (AWEN) is a working group in ASEAN composed of women entrepreneurs and associations working to promote women’s economic empowerment in the region. The Philippines currently chairs AWEN which has a network of almost a hundred organizations in the 10 ASEAN member states.

USAID-ACTI, the co-sponsor of the Conference, supports AWEN’s policy advocacy plans to empower women through business and enterprise and to improve access to finance and markets. It also organized the network of women in 2014 and sees through its projects for sustainable action plans for regional integration through technology.

AWEN was first chaired by Vietnam until May 2016 when the leadership was turned over to the Philippines for the period 2016-2018. It also happens to be the 50th anniversary of ASEAN and Philippines as the host country. ASEAN-BAC headed by Philippines Chair Joey Concepcion,  supports AWEN in all its activities in line with its private sector engagement.

Interested parties wanting to attend the two-day conference may log on to www.womenbiz.ph or www.dti.gov.ph.