Project Title

Enhancing Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Access to the Digital Economy 

Project Year

2015   

Project Number

SME 05 2015 

Project Session

Session 2   

Project Type

Standard 

Project Status

Completed Project   
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Project No.

SME 05 2015 

Project Title

Enhancing Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Access to the Digital Economy 

Project Status

Completed Project 

Publication (if any)

 

Fund Account

General Project Account 

Sub-fund

None 

Project Year

2015 

Project Session

Session 2 

APEC Funding

110,962 

Co-funding Amount

Total Project Value

110,962 

Sponsoring Forum

Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG) 

Topics

Small and Medium Enterprises 

Committee

SOM Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE) 

Other Fora Involved

 

Other Non-APEC Stakeholders Involved

 

Proposing Economy(ies)

United States 

Co-Sponsoring Economies

Australia; Canada; Hong Kong, China; Mexico; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Viet Nam 

Expected Start Date

01/12/2015 

Expected Completion Date

31/05/2016 

Project Proponent Name 1

Fumiyo Tsuda 

Job Title 1

Exchange Diplomat Officer 

Organization 1

Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Office of Economic Policy, US Department of State 

Postal Address 1

2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520, USA 

Telephone 1

1-202 6474745 

Fax 1

Not Applicable 

Email 1

TsudaF@state.gov 

Project Proponent Name 2

Not Applicable 

Job Title 2

Not Applicable 

Organization 2

Not Applicable 

Postal Address 2

Not Applicable 

Telephone 2

Not Applicable 

Fax 2

Not Applicable 

Email 2

Not Applicable 

Declaration

Jillian DeLuna 

Project Summary

The digital economy offers enormous potential to integrate micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) into global markets, but for a variety of reasons many MSMEs are not taking full advantage of these opportunities. 

In support of the SMEWG “Digital Action Plan: Connecting MSMEs to Global and Regional Markets” and the “Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs”, endorsed this year, the United States proposes a workshop to identify challenges faced by MSMEs in accessing the digital economy, with a particular emphasis on MSMEs from developing economies. The workshop will take place on the margins of the SME Working Group meeting in Viet Nam. 

Main objectives of the workshop are (1) exchange information on challenges for MSMEs (2) highlight best practices for supporting MSME access and (3) increase awareness of private sector efforts to integrate MSMEs into global and regional markets.

Relevance

Today, digital technologies underpin the global economy, acting as a cost-effective platform and catalyst for innovation, supporting new business models, and expanding trade for SMEs. The digital economy offers enormous opportunities to integrate micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) into global supply and value chains, enabling MSMEs to enter new markets and fostering more inclusive and sustainable economic growth.  MSMEs stand to gain the most by accessing the digital economy. 

However, MSMEs face difficulties advancing their operations through the digital economy.  Access to the digital economy remains challenging for businesses in many APEC economies due to difficulties in accessing the internet and broadband, security concerns, and the high cost of information and communication technology (ICT) equipment and devices.  MSMEs face these challenges disproportionally to larger businesses. 

MSMEs comprise over 97 percent of all enterprises and over half of the workforce in APEC economies. An MSME sector well-integrated into the digital economy would be well-positioned to be a significant driver of economic growth, job creation, and human development. As an engine of economic growth, innovation, and development for the Asia-Pacific region, enhancing digital economy access for MSMEs is critical to advance APEC’s goal to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. 

This project falls under APEC Funding Criteria Rank 1: 

· SME Development, including access to regional and global markets:  The project will identify barriers to MSME participation in the digital economy that links it to regional and global markets.

·  Ease of Doing Business:  The project will improve information sharing and access to e-commerce and other aspects of the digital economy, which has been a significant and cost-effective mechanism for the internationalization of MSMEs.

. Information Technology and digital economy, including e-commerce and ICT infrastructure:  The project will provide practical outputs that will assist economies and MSMEs to enhance integration into the digital economy.

Objectives

The key objectives of the workshop are to:

1) To increase the knowledge of APEC member economies on the difficulties faced by MSMEs in accessing the digital economy through the exchange of information by policy makers, academia, and the business community.

2) To identify best practices of member economies for supporting MSME access to global and regional markets and increase awareness of private sector efforts to integrate MSMEs into global and regional markets.

3) To develop a set of principles on digital economy recommendations that will improve the capacity of MSMEs as well as APEC policy makers to better utilize the digital economy to contribute to economic growth.

Alignment

The workshop will support the SMEWG Digital Economy Action Plan:  Connecting MSMEs to Global and Regional Markets, welcomed by the SME Ministers in the 2015 statement and the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs.  The workshop will also support the 2014 APEC Leaders recognition of the importance of the Internet economy in promoting innovative development and empowering economic participation.  The proposal would also contribute to the actions identified by Ministers in the 2011 “Actions to Address Barriers Facing SMEs in Trading in the Region” by contributing to the development of best practices to assist SMEs in internationalizing operations. 

The APEC SMEWG Strategic Plan for 2013-2016 provides a roadmap to address issues pertaining to the growth of MSMEs with the priority areas of building management capability, entrepreneurship, and innovation; financing; and business environment, market access and internationalization.  This project will support the business environment, market access, and internationalization priority area by identifying what MSMEs need to better access the digital economy and increase participation in global markets and by informing the development of recommendations and best practices for use by APEC member economies in developing policies to support MSMEs.

TILF/ASF Justification

Not Applicable.

Beneficiaries and Outputs

Outputs: The main output of this project will be a one-day workshop on the margins of the SME Working Group held in Viet Nam in the first half of 2016.  The workshop organizers will produce a report to be made public that includes presentation summaries, discussion summaries, and best practices shared among APEC member economies and other participants. 

The workshop will increase the knowledge of APEC policy makers on the difficulties faced by MSMEs.  This will help inform the implementation of the Digital Economy Action Plan, other relevant work in the SME Working Group, TELWG, AHSGIE, ECSG, and in other APEC sub-fora as appropriate.  Private sector participants will gain knowledge of best practices among other MSMEs and APEC policy makers.  All participants will also benefit from collaboration and networking opportunities.

Outcomes: The workshop will increase the knowledge of APEC policy makers of the challenges faced by MSMEs in accessing the digital economy and contribute to the development of policies that will contribute to addressing these challenges.  This knowledge will also provide a set of principles for achieving a better platform for ease of access to digital economy by MSMEs for APEC member economies and other relevant APEC fora. The principles will also be presented and discussed at CTI and SOM.

The workshop will provide the private sector an opportunity to discuss these challenges directly with policy makers, as well as collaboration with other private sector participants to explore best practices. The public outcomes document will provide a basis for future discussions in relevant APEC fora and SOM.  The published document will also contribute to other resources addressing MSME access to global markets and integration into supply and value chain.

The workshop will identify specific areas for potential capacity building activities to enhance MSME access to the digital economy.  These areas identified could inform future policy and capacity building activity development by the United States and other interested economies. 

Beneficiaries: Direct beneficiaries are workshop participants, including SME Working Group delegates, and representatives of MSMEs in APEC economies.  Workshop participants will learn and discuss best practices for accessing the digital economy.  For private sector participants, this will offer more opportunity for integration into global supply and value chains, providing access to new markets and the ability to growth their businesses.  Participants will also explore how existing policies might be improved to address the difficulties faced by MSMEs in the areas of internet and broadband access, security concerns, and the high cost of ICT equipment and devices.  These outcomes will also be shared with other relevant APEC fora, including TELWG, AHSGIE, ECSG, and CTI, contributing to discussions in these fora. 

Since the workshop will produce an outcomes document, non-attendees will also have the opportunity to learn from the best practices and other information discussed at the workshop.  The public document will also add to the body of resources on best practices for MSME access and integration into global markets.

Dissemination

All publications from this work stream will be posted on the APEC website and disseminated to all workshop participants. SME delegates will be asked to post the information on their government website and provide local industry associations or groups with the information. In addition, MSME representatives and private local industry associations or groups are encouraged to diffuse the outcomes through their websites or social media in their respective economy. No fee will be charged for the information stemming from this workshop.

Gender

The workshop will include participation of women, including experts in the digital economy and women business owners. The organizer will coordinate with other economies and chamber of commerce or associations of women entrepreneurs in each economy, in order to ensure women representatives’ participation in the Workshop. And also, the organizer will try to include as many women representatives of MSMEs as possible in the speakers list so that they can share their experiences and problems in accessing to digital economy from women owners’ point of view. 

The participation of representatives of women owned MSMEs will also constitute one of the key pillars of the PPWE, “Innovation and technology”. 

Women own and play a significant role in SMEs throughout the APEC region.  However, as outlined in 2013 in the first SME and Women Joint Ministers’ statement, women-owned SMEs face barriers including that lack of access information technology innovation and markets among others.  The objectives of this project will address these barriers.  This project will address the priority area of “building management, capacity, entrepreneurship, and innovation” to “implement programs to promote entrepreneurship to youth, women and minorities” in the 2013-2016 SME Strategic Plan.

Work Plan

1) November 2015: The United States, in coordination with project co-sponsors, will confirm the workshop location and dates in consultation with the APEC Secretariat, SME Working Group Chair, and host economy.  The organizers plan to host the workshop on the margins of the 43rd SME Working Group in Viet Nam (dates to be announced).

2) November - December 2015:  The United States, in coordination with project co-sponsors, will consult potential stakeholders, including experts and policy makers of APEC member economies, private sector representatives, and academia to explore possible workshop session topics, select appropriate speakers, and determine participants.  The United States will ask SME delegates to suggest non-government participants.

3) December 2015 – January 2016:  The United States will vet nominated participants.  The United States, in coordination with project cosponsors, will develop the agenda.  The agenda will be developed in close coordination with stakeholders.  The organizers will confirm speakers and invite participants.

4) March 2016 (TBC): The organizers will host the workshop on the margins of the SME Working Group Meeting.  The one-day workshop will include expert speakers from APEC economies and representatives of MSMEs and other non-government representatives. The workshop will also include opportunities for collaboration and discussion among participants.

5) March – May 2016: The organizers will release a document containing the results and findings of the workshop for review among SME Working Group members for input before publishing.  The output document will include recommended action items and next steps.  All materials will be made public, posted, and published in accordance with established APEC procedures.

6) June-July 2016: The organizers present draft principles for achieving a better platform for ease of access to digital economy by MSMEs to SME WG.

Risks

Risks include low interest and difficulty achieving policy change over the long-term.  The project organizers will mitigate these risks by providing ongoing consultations with interested economies and relevant stakeholders, including other APEC fora. There is also a risk of limited SME participation and SME participation from outside of Viet Nam. The organizers will overcome these risks by coordinating closely with associations or groups of SMEs in each economy, deepening their understanding on the benefits of the outcome to their activities.

Monitoring and Evaluation

A successful workshop will include the development of an output document to be presented to the SME Working Group. Indicators of success also include continued discussion of the impediments identified in the SME Working Group and other APEC fora.  Another indicator of success will be the level of distribution of the output document by workshop participants and its level of access via the APEC website. As this workshop will be held on the margins of the SME Working Group meeting, officials of all economies are expected to participate. In addition, we expect participation of approximately one hundred participants from SMEs and academia, and one-third of the participants are expected to be women. 

The project organizers will distribute a survey to all participants at the end of the workshop to determine if the workshop met needs and expectations. 

Follow-up after the workshop will include ongoing consultations with participant economies to determine if policy best practices were appropriate and attainable, as well as consultations with private sector participants to ensure that the workshop produced policy recommendations that would be helpful if applied in practice.

Linkages

The workshop will include participants from APEC member economies, academia, and the private sector.  The proposal builds on the work of the SMEWG and the Boracay Action Agenda, coordinating where appropriate with the Telecommunications Working Group, Ad Hoc Steering Group on Internet, the E-Commerce Steering Group, and the Committee on Trade and Investment by requesting advice based on past projects and sharing the outcomes of the workshop with these fora. As this project is a pioneer in this field, the project organizers will share the benefits with other relevant organizations. 

APEC is the best source of funds for this project because it provides for the participation of SMEs from travel eligible economies, who are seeking opportunities to contribute to the development of policies that enhance MSMEs in their own economies.  APEC also has a wide array of established working groups that touch on SMEs and digital economy issues that can participate in the workshops and assist with capacity building and technical expertise as needed.

Sustainability

We expect the workshop will result in better informed APEC policy makers on the issues that MSMEs face in accessing the digital economy to enter global markets. This information will optimally contribute to policies that are more conscious to these challenges and identify specific areas for potential capacity building activities for MSMEs.  We intend to continue the discussions in future dialogues and through the SME Working Group to identify potential future policy and capacity building opportunities for MSMEs in APEC economies. The recommendations and lessons learned from the workshop, which would continue to raise the awareness of policy makers across APEC fora of these challenges, should be consolidated in a set of principles or framework in order to achieve sustainable outcomes. As a next step, the PO will develop draft principles for achieving a better platform for MSMEs to access a digital economy, which will be presented and discussed at SME WG, and will seek its future adoption at CTI and SOM.

Project Overseers

Fumiyo Tsuda (TsudaF@state.gov), Exchange Diplomat Officer of Office of Economic Policy, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Ms. Tsuda has mainly worked at Economic Affairs Bureau in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and has experience working in overseas missions. She has also experience in negotiations in the services sector, including in the WTO and APEC. Most recently, she participated in the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Jillian DeLuna (delunaj@state.gov), Trade Officer, Office of Economic Policy, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State and Dan Miller (Daniel.Miller@trade.gov), U.S. Delegate to the SMEWG, Office of East Asia and APEC, U.S. Department of Commerce are alternative points of contact for this project.

Cost Efficiency

Not Applicable.

Drawdown Timetable

Not Applicable.

Direct Labour

Not Applicable.

Waivers

With respect to the simultaneous interpreters’ fee, since some of the speakers from MSME sector may not speak English, for the convenience of the audience, simultaneous interpretation is preferred to normal translation. For this reasons, we would like to request a waiver from financial rule for this fee.

Are there any supporting document attached?

No 
Attachments
Version: 4.0 
Created at 07/12/2015 16:59  by Lucy Phua 
Last modified at 03/01/2017 10:36  by Lucy Phua 
Version HistoryVersion History

Project No.

Project Title

Project Status

Publication (if any)

Fund Account

Sub-fund

Project Year

Project Session

APEC Funding

Co-funding Amount

Total Project Value

Sponsoring Forum

Topics

Committee

Other Fora Involved

Other Non-APEC Stakeholders Involved

Proposing Economy(ies)

Co-Sponsoring Economies

Expected Start Date

Expected Completion Date

Project Proponent Name 1

Job Title 1

Organization 1

Postal Address 1

Telephone 1

Fax 1

Email 1

Project Proponent Name 2

Job Title 2

Organization 2

Postal Address 2

Telephone 2

Fax 2

Email 2

Declaration

Project Summary

Relevance

Objectives

Alignment

TILF/ASF Justification

Beneficiaries and Outputs

Dissemination

Gender

Work Plan

Risks

Monitoring and Evaluation

Linkages

Sustainability

Project Overseers

Cost Efficiency

Drawdown Timetable

Direct Labour

Waivers

Are there any supporting document attached?

hdFldAdmin

Project Number

Previous Fora

Secretariat Comments

Reprogramming Notes

Consolidated QAF

Endorsement By Fora

PD Sign Off

Batch

Forum Priority

Committee Ranking Category

Committee Priority

PDM Priority

Priority Within Funding Category

Monitoring Report Received

Completion Report Received

PMU Field 1

PMU Field 2

PMU Field 3

On Behalf Of

Proposal Status

Originating Sub-Forum

Approval Status
Attachments
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