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Council renews commitment to SME digitalization

THE US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) has renewed its commitment to implement an online platform to support the digitalization of ASEAN small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

US-ABC’s government partners in signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) are the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC).

US-ABC signed the agreement during the 15th ASEAN Coordinating Committee on micro, small, and medium enterprises (ACCMSME) meeting, which started on May 22.

Participants were briefed on the progress made in rolling out the ASEAN SME Academy 2.0 online platform.

“This renewal of commitment to implement the ASEAN SME Academy is very timely — especially after what we have all gone through in the past couple of years. When almost everyone were required to stay at home, online learning boomed to widespread popularity,” Trade Undersecretary Blesila A. Lantayona said. 

“(Even though) we have returned to face-to-face ACCMSME meetings, online learning platforms such as the ASEAN SME Academy are here to stay,” she added.

The amended MoU was signed to assign new roles to US-ABC, the DTI’s Bureau of SME Development, and the PTTC’s Global MSME Academy following changes arising from a revamp of the website.  

“The MoU demonstrated a significant commitment from the US-ABC and ACCMSME, formalizing the continuity of collaboration for ASEAN SMEs, the ASEAN SME Academy. This MoU acts as an amendment from the previous MoU that was signed in 2019,” US-ABC said.

According to US-ABC, ASEAN SME Academy 2.0 offers a new website, a self-certification feature, broader availability in ASEAN languages, a US-ASEAN SME community feature, and an upcoming business continuity and resilience tab.

Launched in 2016, the ASEAN SME Academy hopes to facilitate the digital transformation of ASEAN SMEs. The online platform was relaunched on April 8, 2022.

“We believe with the amended MoU, the ASEAN SME Academy platform could expedite the digital transformation in the region for SMEs, considering they are the backbone of the economy,” US-ABC Chief Operations Officer Margaret Hanson-Muse said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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