PROSPERITY FOR ALL SUMMIT

Driving growth through MSMEs

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TODAY, in honor of 50 years of growing Asean integration and progress, the Asean Business Advisory Council (Asean-BAC) is holding 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.

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The creation 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.

In 2015, the 26th Asean Summit held in Kuala Lumpur and 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 and private sectors in light of advancing MSME development and empowerment in the region.

“As the first Prosperity for All Summit hosted by the Asean Business Advisory Council is being held, it is a great time to be reminded that at the heart of this event are the micro-small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) who comprise 95 to 99 percent of the Asean business community. These enterprises account for 25 to 58 percent of the overall Asean GDP, making them a valuable part of the economy as they continue to help alleviate poverty through employment opportunities and business innovations. Through partnerships with large enterprises, MSMEs continue to contribute to the economy both in the rural and urban communities,” said the current Asean-BAC Chairman, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

Concepcion added, “In line with President Duterte’s goal of inclusive growth through MSME development programs that empower youth and women entrepreneurship, the Asean Business Advisory Council is also focused on promoting and developing these enterprises to bring them across the Asean regions and the global market.

Executive Director Gil Gonzales, on the other hand, gave an overview of the Asean-BAC and the summit during a recent news conference. “The Asean-BAC is fully supportive of the theme being put forward by the Philippine Chairmanship of Prosperity for All. [The Asean-BAC] does projects to support the AEC policy framework because with business—after recommendations—we want to see actions especially when it comes to the MSMEs, which is the very sector being given focus by the Philippine chairmanship. For prosperity for all to happen, you must have inclusive growth, you must have that shared prosperity. That’s why you have to take care of this 96-98 percent of the business sector across the Asean,” Gonzales said.

Asean-BAC Philippines Adviser Josephine Ramos followed Gonzales with a presentation of the summit’s program and flow. With keynote addresses given by top state officials from the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, and five sessions jam-packed with leading experts and business leaders in the region, the Prosperity for All Summit promises to be a dynamic gathering of minds and ideas.

Asean-BAC Chairman Concepcion stressed the importance of the event to the region: “We are fortunate to have the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Thailand as confirmed speakers in our event. Having these state leaders along with the roster of experts in our five sessions is a testament to the importance of creating prosperity for all in the Asean. We don’t want to see that only a few of the 10 countries are prosperous. The whole idea of putting our 10 countries together is to help all of those who are not prosperous. This is what we would like to see as Asean progresses—the countries as Asean brothers helping each other hand-in-hand in order to succeed in creating prosperity for all the nations.”

The Prosperity for All Summit aims to pursue genuine and inclusive growth and 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. The session will feature former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Sen. Bam Aquino, Asean Economic Ministers chair and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Royal Group Vice President Rami Sharaf, and Inang Lupa Movement President Dr. William Dar.

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. This session will be discussed by Sen. Miguel Zubiri, International Container Terminal Services Chairman and President Enrique Razon, Sakae Holdings Ltd. founder and Chairman and Asean BAC Singapore member Douglas Foo and Undersecretary of the Trade and Industry Promotion Group Nora Terrado.

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. Alex Buenaventura of Landbank of the Philippines, Dr. Raymond Kwong of Silverlake Axis Group, Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip of Center for Agriculture and Rural Development and Jojo Flores of Plug and Play Technology Center will be sharing their insights in this session.

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. Speakers DoST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, Lazada Philippines CEO Inanc Balci and YCH Group chairman and member of the Asean-Business Advisory Council Dr. Robert Yap will discuss in this session.

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.

To discuss this call to action for all mentors and enablers, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Asean-BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion will be joined by Teresita Sy-Coson of SM Investments Corp. and Asean BAC Philippines, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries President and Asean Business Advisory Council Philippines member George Barcelon, Manuel Pangilinan of Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), and Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Mohd Munir Bin Abdul Majid of Bank Muamalat Berhad and Asean-BAC Malaysia.

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

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