The importance of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) cannot be underestimated. In the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region, MSMEs make up over 97 per cent of all businesses, employ over half the workforce across APEC economies and play a critical role in driving diversification of economic activities.
This was highlighted by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah yesterday when delivering an opening keynote address at the workshop on education and training to enhance sustainable practices among MSMEs.
The workshop, hosted by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), also marked the launch of the Brunei Economy programme that seeks to connect APEC and ASEAN issues with stakeholders.
According to a press statement, over 300 people from across the Asia-Pacific registered for the workshop, which aimed to identify concrete recommendations that can be provided to APEC leaders on how to support MSMEs in their sustainability journey through education and training.
Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew, who launched the programme, said, “I am confident that this programme can be a platform that brings the private and public sectors together towards achieving Brunei Vision 2035.
“This programme will also support the Brunei government’s focus on ‘Recovery, Sustainability and Digitalisation’ by engaging local and international business communities – in line with the Brunei Darussalam Economic Blueprint that aims to achieve a dynamic and sustainable economy by 2035.”
Meanwhile, Executive Director of LVK Group of Companies, ABAC Brunei member and Co-Chair of ABAC MSME and Inclusiveness Working Group (MSMEWG) Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii said, “The outcome of the workshop will contribute to the ABAC report for leaders. We hope it will provide recommendations to the government and private sector to help our MSMEs to be more sustainable and inclusive, for the well-being of the business community.”
Chairman, partner and founder of RM Capital Partners, ABAC Malaysia member and Chair of ABAC MSMEWG Dato’ Rohana binti Tan Sri Mahmood said, “MSMEs have always been acknowledged as the driver for economic growth and development within the APEC region.
The COVID-19 disruptions highlighted the vulnerability of MSMEs to severe economic shocks.”
The workshop featured two panel discussions that explored the importance of ‘Education and Training’ and ‘Skills for a Digital Age’ and featured speakers from the ABAC and senior international figures from Google, LINE, SGTech, UPS, Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) and Baiduri Bank as well the Asian Development Bank and UNESCAP. The participants also heard how B20 Indonesia is helping MSMEs.
“By equipping MSMEs with the right education and training, they can make an impact on employment, poverty reduction and inclusive and sustainable growth,” said the press statement.
Also shared was that digitalisation has played an essential role in helping MSMEs survive the pandemic. “The new normal has created opportunities to reach new customers, lower costs and access financial services.”
The Brunei Economy programme is hosted by the ASEAN and APEC Business Advisory Councils of Brunei in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economy and partnered by Baiduri Bank, Radio Television Brunei and Brunei Press Sdn Bhd.