ASEAN to launch SME programme

19 November 2015
(Click THE BRUNEI TIMES for original post)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A PROGRAMME to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) tackle challenges such as expansion and access to finance will be launched this Saturday.

This programme is in line with ASEAN’s plan to develop its SMEs.

SME Corp Malaysia, a Malaysian coordinating agency for SME development, will be launching the SME Action Plan for 2016-2025.

The Malaysian state news agency reported there was strong demand from ASEAN member countries to learn from Malaysia’s expertise in Islamic financing.

Bernama, quoting SME Corp Chief Executive Officer Datuk Hafsah Hashim, reported ASEAN member countries are also “observing” Malaysia’s Credit Guarantee Corporation, which helps SMEs with inadequate collateral obtain funds from financial institutions.

“A number of ASEAN countries do not have credit guarantee corporations in their countries. So using the success and the model that is applied here, they now want to emulate Malaysia in introducing CGCs in their countries,” she said.

Datuk Hafsah said the action plan will boost the capabilities of ASEAN SMEs to become globally competitive.

The programme will also continue from the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for SME Development 2010-2015.

The plan previously said SMEs face with a range of challenges including structural, financial and limited technology.

“There is also the question of entrepreneurial spirit and management skills among ASEAN SMEs. These problems are compounded by the lack of information, inadequate capacity for compliance with standards and certification, and the absence of a more conducive business and policy environment,” the plan for SME Development 2010-2015 said.

ASEAN Business Advisory Council Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid previously said the plan is a critical socio-economic factor of the US$2.4 trillion ASEAN Economic Community.

The new SME action plan will be launched on the second day of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2015, which will be held November 20 to 21 at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

According to the current programme, ABIS will feature speeches by heads of state including a keynote speech from Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Hj Abdul Razak. There will also an address by US President Barack Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Other events include a panel with ASEAN Economic Ministers, the launch of the Growth Accelerator Exchange and the presentation of the ASEAN Business Awards by Malaysia’s Prime Minister.

The ABIS serves as a platform for the business and government leaders to get together to explore new ideas, challenge perspectives and gain insights to help propel businesses towards regional success.

The Brunei Times