(MPI) – The 27th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Ministerial Meeting with the theme of “The Asia-Pacific’s responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and opportunities to build a sustainable future” was held virtually under the chairing of Mr. Hon Stuart Nash, Minister for Small Business of New Zealand on October 9th, 2021. Deputy Minister Tran Duy Dong attended the meeting.
APEC ministers discuss SMEs, resilience, and a sustainable recovery from the pandemic. Photo: MPI
Digitalization is the motivation for effective recovery from economic shocks
Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Minister Tran Duy Dong expressed his gratitude towards New Zealand for making great efforts to successfully organize the 27th APEC SME Ministerial Meeting in the worldwide struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SMEs) community is now facing various difficulties, challenges and even negative impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has been changing people's lives and habits, and forcing manufacturers and consumers to adjust and adapt in the new context.
Digital Transformation is an inevitable trend and an important solution for SMEs around the world to recover and improve business efficiency and competitiveness in the new context. Effective digital transformation will help enterprises in data collection; better resource exploitation and management; improved customer experience; flexibility; adaption and boost in efficiency, productivity and profits.
Therefore, Vietnam highly supported the topic “Digitalization is the motivation for effective recovery from economic shocks” and paid attention to raising awareness for businesses and strengthening activities to support businesses in digital transformation.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment has issued and implemented “Supporting Programme for Businesses in Digital Transformation for the period of 2021-2025” since January 2021. The program aims to transform the perception, vision, and strategy of enterprises; support the digitization in business and production; support in comprehensive digital transformation to create new products, services, and models for businesses with specific goals. Specially, 100% of the enterprises are well aware of digital transformation; at least 100,000 enterprises have digital transformation technical support; of which at least 100 supported enterprises becomes successful role models to spread and multiply; form an expert network with at least 100 organizational and individual consultants, providing solutions to digital transformation for enterprises, aiding in developing digital foundations.
The Programme has coordinated with numerous domestic and international partners to deploy different activities, with more than 10,000 businesses joining, in which, there are 4,500 businesses have raised awareness of Digital Transformation, 350 businesses are assessed for readiness and 100 businesses are being supported with in-depth consulting to solve specific problems of businesses in digital transformation.
Deputy Minister Dong expressed the gratitude towards APEC economies, especially Singapore (ESG) and the United States of America (USAID) for their close-knit cooperation in supporting Vietnam in digital transformation for SMEs. The meeting is also an opportunity for Vietnam to learn the best experiences and practices from qualified experts. Vietnam looks forward to more cooperation and sharing within the framework of APEC so that to support businesses to overcome difficulties and challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, towards the sustainable development goal.
Deputy Minister Tran Duy Dong speaking at the meeting. Photo: MPI
Incusion and wellbeing
Vietnam has been successful in reducing poverty and improving living standards since the mid-1980s when the economic reforms under Doi Moi started. To sustain inclusive development, Vietnam also need to create new well-paid income opportunities for low-income people, and to provide more affordable and relevant goods and services.
The Fourth Industry Revolution with climate change challenges, and more so the recent COVID-19 pandemic have been changing the working methods of industries. Inclusive business (IB) model that creates value for low-income communities will promote inclusive growth by investing in innovative, commercially viable, and growing business models that provide, at scale, relevant and affordable goods and services; or enhance livelihood opportunities to people living at the base of the pyramid. The IB model brings triple wins for businesses, the poor, and the society; and women economic empowerment (WEE) is also enhanced. Therefore, the IB makes remarkable contributions to not only poverty reduction, hunger eradication but also gender gap narrowing.
Deputy Minister Tran Duy Dong affirmed that Vietnam support the Agenda in “Promoting the IB for inclusion and well-being in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Support Plan”, and Vietnam already integrated this topic in its inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
A Programme to support inclusive and sustainable MSMEs is being developed and to be launched soon in Viet Nam. The Programme aims to cultivate inclusive and sustainable development of private sector enterprises, especially MSMEs; ensuring a close, reasonable and harmonious combination of economic efficiency with social responsibility, protection of natural resources and environment.
The Programme also aims to mobilize social resources to gradually develop an ecosystem and support inclusive and sustainable businesses, actively contribute to creating jobs, improving living standards for low-income and vulnerable people, women-led MSMEs protecting the environment and responding to climate change in Vietnam.
In order to achieve those goals, the Programme will implement the following key activities: Propagating, raising awareness of sustainable business models; Building a database in order to share information on sustainable businesses; Developing tools to measure, evaluate and recognize sustainable businesses; Supporting private businesses to implement a sustainable business model; Promote the development of financial products and services for sustainable businesses.
In addition, Vietnam is also making great effort to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystems that foster women’s entrepreneurship, focusing on 3 main pillars: enhance the enabling policy environment; accelerate support services for WSMEs; and strengthen capacity building for both WSMEs and key stakeholders.
A 5-year program (2021-2025) on enhancing competitiveness of women-owned MSMEs will be designed in the end of 2021. Furthermore, a digital portal for women entrepreneurs is being designed, expected to be situated under the National SME Portal. This aims to provide women entrepreneurs information on policy and support programmes, e-learning resources as well as online support services including psychosocial support for women entrepreneurs
Vietnam would like to propose that APEC Secretariat should encourage their economy members to find more innovations and policy capacities to boost inclusive and sustainable business, helping WSMEs by creating and sharing most useful information on inclusive growth./.
Ministry of Planning and Investment