This morning, Supattanapong Punmeechaow, Thailand Deputy Prime Minister and Vice Chairman of the Thailand Board of SME Promotion, shared with ministers and high-level representatives from APEC’s 21 member economies a statement that reflects the outcomes of the 28th Meeting of APEC Small and Medium Enterprises, which he chaired on 9-10 September 2022.
The statement mapped the wide range of issues faced by startups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the APEC region, and elaborated some solutions which were discussed by the ministers. These are encapsulated in the meeting’s theme—“Inclusive Recovery of APEC MSMEs through the Bio-Circular-Green Economy Model and a High Impact Ecosystem.”
During the meeting, ministers said they will continue to foster economic growth, which benefits everyone, including small businesses and startups. They will help small businesses participate in the global economy and intend to restore and improve the connectivity among APEC economies through digital resilience, which will help MSMEs flourish and in turn contribute to the region’s recovery.
As laid out in the chair’s statement, the membership have agreed to do this by supporting of the following points in bold text:
- Acceleration of the Region’s Adoption of the Bio-Circular-Green Economy Model – Going bio-circular-green can open business opportunities and add value to the products and services of small businesses, while adding to the global effort to address climate change.
- Inclusive Digital Transformation – Digitalization affords small enterprises the tools to develop faster. MSMEs with digital skills can reach more customers, and are more resilient against disruptions such as the restrictions imposed under the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Financing and Debt Restructuring – MSMEs have difficulty borrowing “because they are small, less diversified and may have weaker financial structures.” Giving a small business access to finance liberates its potential, so ministers are encouraging measures to address lending constraints.
- Coping with an Evolving Market Landscape – A business environment that encourages startups, fosters innovation, promotes participation in global value chains, and empowers women and youth entrepreneurs, among others, will help MSMEs thrive and become more competitive.
The statement also demonstrates how APEC’s MSMEs ministers recognize that economic goals should include not just growth, but the wellbeing of people, inclusion, equity, as well as sustainability.
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