MIRI: Owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should take the limitless opportunity offered under a new Asean business eco-system – Asean Economic Community.
In giving this advice, Indonesian Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs special staff Hermawan Kartajaya said Asean shares three pillars that make it a strong business community.
“The first pillar is peaceful political security which is one of the pull-factors for foreign direct investment with USD1 trillion total trade and USD2.5 trillion GDP of the Intra-Asia.
“Secondly, Asean also shares similar social culture where opportunity for businesses relationship is convenient.
“Thirdly, the similarity of Asean economy makes it a unique value proposition for further growth of SME industry between the cross borders of Asian region,” he said yesterday.
Thus, Hermawan advised that the Asean eco-system should be utilised by SMEs especially in business practices, with the core values of creating value with values, making profit with principles and making business with impact in the highly competitive SME industry across borders.
Also the founder and CEO of Markplus Inc. Indonesia, Hermawan was the presenter for the Asean Economic Community (AEC) 2015: A New Asean Business Eco-system at the 3rd Asian SME Conference 2015.
Themed ‘Asian Entrepreneurship: Fostering Cross-Border Collaboration’ it focused on three main areas – eco-system, innovation and sustainability – and was held at Meritz Hotel.
“The hosting of the international conference in Miri is a concrete example where Malaysia not only promotes its capital but also other cities especially with its rich cultures. I am impressed with the hospitality offered in Miri especially as it is the first time I came here,” he said.
The two-day conference was the third day of the 5-day event which was attended by some 200 participants from 20 countries including Indonesia, USA, Korea, Singapore, Brunei, Japan, Europe, Australia, India, Taiwan, South Africa, Myanmar and Mauritius.
It was organised by Asia Council for Small Business (ACSB-Seoul Korea) in collaboration with the International Council for Small Business (ICSB-Washington DC) and hosted by International Council of SME & Entrepreneurship (ICSMEE) Malaysia, an affiliate of ICSB.
Meanwhile, ICSMEE Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Mamat said the conference is part of the cause to enhance entrepreneurship and development of SMEs globally, through sharing of knowledge and experience via ICSB networks internationally.
“SMEs constitute more than 96 per cent of all businesses in the world. Small businesses have been the bread and butter of Asian livelihood for as long as Asian civilisation exists.”
“The launching of Asean Economic Community by end of this year and conclusion of Trans Pacific Partnerships Agreement (TPPA) negotiations recently, coupled with currency turbulence and unsettling world economic scenario, are expected to bring new opportunities, uncertainties and challenges. This challenging scenario calls for better Intra-Asian planning and cooperation,” he added in his welcoming speech at the conference.
Continuing on, he also mentioned that revitalisation of entrepreneurship through education and training is an urgent matter that needs to be addressed, especially among the educated youth with both technical and vocational background, to fuel future growth of SMEs in Asia.
Others present at the opening ceremony of the conference included Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, ICSB president Prof Ki-Chan Kim, SMECorp Malaysia CEO Dato Dr Hafsah Hashim, ACSB ICSMEE Malaysia president Dr Zakaria Taib and Assistant Minister of Communications Datuk Lee Kim Shin.