Smart Technology for ASEAN’s Small Business Entrepreneurs

BANDUNG, March 10, 2014 – The development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in ASEAN is critical for development in the ASEAN region.  SMEs account for 96% of all enterprises and between 50 and 85% of domestic employment in ASEAN.  Moreover, supporting SMEs provides a unique opportunity for the economic empowerment of women and young entrepreneurs. In particular, women-owned businesses make up around 30% of all SMEs in the region.  For these reasons, SME development is a core objective of United States Government support in ASEAN.

Digital literacy and the use of modern technology tools have become the prerequisites in today’s business environment.  Proper knowledge of and familiarity with ICT tools can help entrepreneurs access information and develop linkages so as to further strengthen and better manage their businesses. Therefore, in partnership with the ASEAN Foundation and Microsoft, the U.S. Government-funded ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment project are holding a series of training and incubation activities for SMEs in the Bandung area, starting today, March 10, 2014.  The focus of these activities is on using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools for business development.

The training activities include one Training of Trainers (TOT) course on Smart Technology for Smarter Businesses and three basic training courses on ICT tools for business development and management.  The three-day TOT course will be held from March 10-12 and will train up to 20 instructors.  It prepares the participants to deliver a technology curriculum to microentrepreneurs. The curriculum highlights the business challenges faced by SMEs and shows how technology solutions can address those challenges.

The three basic training courses will be conducted on March 14-15 and April 21-22 and April 24-25 for 25 entrepreneurs in each course.  These courses teach participants how to apply ICT tools to their daily business operations. They are intended for entrepreneurs who already have basic computer skills. 

These training courses are supplemented by two one-day business incubation sessions for selected participants on March 13 and April 23.

These activities will also provide opportunities for participants to share business experiences and learn from one another while they learn how technology tools can help solve business challenges.  Lessons from these trainings will be used to design further training efforts in other countries in ASEAN.