The New U.S.-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs
HANOI – The newly created U.S.-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) was a joint conception of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which created the new business alliance was signed by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Council President Alexander Feldman, and Procter & Gamble Vice President Carolyn Brehm, who was the representative from the Council’s ASEAN committee.
In a statement sent to the signing event, ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh stated “Public-private partnership is essential to capture the true benefits of ASEAN economic integration towards 2015 and beyond…Both as contributors and beneficiaries of connected markets, ASEAN-based SMEs should be encouraged to participate fully in the regional and global economy.”
The goal of the new alliance is to help foster the development of SMEs and increase their competitiveness in the markets of the ASEAN region and beyond.
“By investing in high-potential businesses, this partnership advances broad-based, sustainable economic growth across the region,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. “It will empower entrepreneurs, promote job creation and provide opportunity at all levels of society, particularly for women and youth.”
In order to achieve these goals, the alliance will use training programs, mentorship opportunities, and cloud technology to support SMEs in five key areas. These areas are:
- Access to finance;
- Access to regional and international markets;
- Human resource development;
- Access to information and advisory services; and
- Access to technology and innovation.
SMEs are a key part to growing the ASEAN economy – they account for over 96 percent of all enterprises and 50 to 95 percent of all employment in the region.
Carolyn Brehm of Procter & Gamble summed up the new business alliance thusly: “The success of the ASEAN Economic Community depends to a large extent on the success of ASEAN SMEs. By investing in their growth we can help to unlock their potential to transform the economy and create jobs, drive innovation, and compete across the region and globally.”
Dezan Shira & Associates is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. Since its establishment in 1992, the firm has grown into one of Asia’s most versatile full-service consultancies with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam in addition to alliances in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand as well as as well as liaison offices in Italy and the United States.
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