APEC-CANADA GROWING BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP – OVERVIEW
“APEC-Canada Growing Business Partnership” is a four-year, C$2.8-million, joint APEC Secretariat/Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) initiative that aims to foster economic growth and reduce poverty in APEC developing economies by building the potential and market access of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Funded by Global Affairs Canada, the initiative will offer best-practice tools, ideas, knowledge and critical connections derived from Canadian experience. While tailored to APEC developing economies, a focus will be given to Indonesia, Philippines, Peru and Vietnam. The project is intended to work in tandem with the SME Sub-Fund which has already been approved and is currently being administered by the APEC Secretariat to support small-scale projects that build the capacity of regional developing economy MSMEs. Both initiatives will closely collaborate to achieve their common goals.
Crosscutting themes of both components include addressing gender equality, youth inclusion, and environmental sustainability, with particular attention given to:
1) Strengthening human capital,
2) Reducing barriers to market access,
3) Encouraging the use of technology and innovation, and
4) Investing in social entrepreneurship.
As Canada’s think-tank on the Asia Pacific and serving as the Canadian APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Secretariat, APF Canada is well positioned to broker new ideas and synergies that can enhance the results of the initiative. Efforts will be made to offer better access to decision-making information through far reaching mobile means, and to encourage partnerships that can fuel MSMEs and entrepreneurship through lessons learned from start-ups, incubators and accelerators.
In the lead up to the Canada-hosted ABAC meeting scheduled for late July 2017, and the Vietnam-hosted APEC Summit set for November 2017, there is a keen interest to focus on key collaborations that can be launched ahead of the Summit.
BUDGET: The project’s budget is C$2.8 million allocated to the policy research and tools for MSMEs in developing APEC economies (managed by APF Canada).
OUTPUTS: The initiative has an ambitious set of outputs that require innovative modalities. The MSME sectors in the APEC economies are broad and diverse. Accessing practical information to make good decisions and better resources is challenging. Technology applications can offer an inclusive approach to reaching the broad spectrum of MSMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs across the region, particularly women and youth, and help them grow their profits and ultimately reduce poverty levels in a sustainable way. Endeavoring to deliver critical information and best practice through “just-in-time” mobile delivery solutions offers the best potential to serve the broadest swath of MSMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs.
As such, we aim to collaborate with centres for innovation and entrepreneurship, technology and communication focused businesses, and other private and public sector partners who can support collective efforts to propel the MSME sectors of the APEC developing economies forward. Further, undertaking substantive research, evaluating Canadian best practice experience, and translating this into recommendations will serve to support MSME and entrepreneurial-friendly policies within the APEC region.
The initiative outputs include:
1) Four national surveys (one for each economy): exploring opportunities and challenges APEC developing economy MSMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs face related to key themes.
2) One website featuring research reports, events related to MSME growth and poverty reduction.
3) One MSME toolkit (in English, Spanish, Bahasa, Tagalog, and Vietnamese): practical business ideas to address challenges on key themes.
4) Four MSME training sessions: relevant Canadian best practices applied within a local context for developing MSME businesses and potential APEC Sub-fund applicants.
5) Mentorship program: a program linking MSMEs in developing APEC economies to Canadian MSME champions to promote sustainable business growth.
6) Four presentations (one annually): presentations to deliver updates on policy research and recommendations to the APEC SME Working Group.
7) 12 research reports (3 per key theme): produced by Canadian experts to provide context for a capstone policy paper (see below) and MSME toolkits (see above).
8) Four workshops (one in each economy): workshops convening Canadian and APEC policy experts and MSMEs to discuss findings from research reports.
9) One high-profile conference: conference held on the margins of an APEC SME Ministerial Meeting, APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting, or APEC SME Working Group Meeting to convene stakeholders on matters pertaining to MSME growth and poverty reduction.
10) One capstone policy paper: paper, featuring recommendations to APEC leaders on how to address policy challenges on key themes for MSMEs in the Asia Pacific.