British International School, Phuket
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APEC meetings in Phuket target MSMEs

PHUKET: The 28th APEC SME Ministerial Meeting is underway at Sai Laguna Phuket, where almost 300 representatives from 21 APEC economic zones are attending both onsite workshops and online forums to discuss trends and issues affecting micro and small- to medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

economicstourism
By The Phuket News

Wednesday 7 September 2022, 05:39PM


The event began on Monday (Sept 5) with Weerapong Malai, Director of the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP) delivering his keynote address, which was followed by events under the theme “Accelerating Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Adoption among APEC MSMEs”.

MSMEs provided jobs for more than 224,905 workers on the island, Mr Weerapong said.

“In Phuket, there are 42,598 MSMEs, 69% of which are in the service sector, especially tourism and related businesses such as hotels and resorts, condominium suites, restaurants and other tourism businesses, followed by the trade sector, which accounts for 26%,” Mr Weerapong said.

Attendees from the 21 economic zones will also have the opportunity to see the potential of small and medium-sized enterprises in Phuket, Mr Weerapong said.

The meetings continued yesterday with under the theme, “Ready for the ‘Next Normal’: How MSMEs should adapt to an evolving market landscape”, with Dr Chao-Chiun Liang from the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan joining the panel discussion on “Evolving Trends in the Next Normal: Implication on MSMEs and Policymakers”.

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Siriporn Rathie, Country Programme Manager for UN Women’s “WeEmpowerAsia” project gave a presentation during the “Markets of Last Resort: Corporate & Public Procurement in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic” session. Her presentation focused on gender-responsive procurement to demonstrate how this would create a win-win situation for both MSMEs and procuring entities, while simultaneously help address issues with gender divide.

See Pei San, General Manager of Far East Flora in Singapore gave a presentation in the session “Enhancing Resilience: Case Studies of MSME Promotion and Adaptation”. Representing a Singapore-based MSME, she shared how her business has been able to cope with the COVID situation and leverage digital technology to adapt to the next normal trends. 

As the focus turned to technology-driven success, Michael Bäk, Head of Public Policy for Facebook Thailand from Meta, joined the panel session, “Evolving Trends in the Next Normal: Implication on MSMEs and Policymakers”. He discussed key trends that have emerged or been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic; examples of MSME adaptation to the trends; and digital tools/innovations which will be crucial in promoting MSME recovery and resilience going forward.

Joining Mr Bäk was Jamie Brennan, Head of Thailand Global Selling, Amazon. Ms Brennan gave a presentation during the session “Digital Market and Platform Economy: How Should MSMEs Navigate the Rise of Online Platforms?” As a representative of a global platform firm, she discussed how MSMEs could leverage digital platforms to narrow their digital gaps and reach new markets, especially international ones, while also cautioning against potential challenges they may face amidst the rise of the platform economy.

The APEC meetings continued today at Saii Laguna Phuket and will continue through to Saturday (Sept 10).

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