Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are integral to the economic development and growth of the ASEAN Member States as they largely outnumber large enterprises in both quantity of establishments and share of the labour force they employ. SMEs account for more than 96% of all enterprises and 50% to 85% of domestic employment. The contribution of SMEs to GDP is between 30% and 53% and the contribution of SMEs to exports is between 19% and 31%. They are important in terms of income and employment generation, gender and youth empowerment through business participation, and their widespread presence in non-urban and poorer domestic regions. SMEs are the backbone of ASEAN and SME development is integral to achieve long-run and sustainable economic growth.

With the strong forces of globalization, it is therefore essential to build the capacities of SMEs in the region in order to ensure that they are highly competitive, innovative and be able to utilize the regional economic initiatives and incentives provided by the government.

The Strategic Action Plan for ASEAN SME Development 2010-2015 outlines the framework for SME development in the ASEAN Region. The Plan covers mandates stipulated in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint, and the current and future work of the ASEAN SME Working Group (ASEAN SMEWG), which is composed of the SME Agencies of all ASEAN Member Countries. In partnership with donor agencies and the private sector, the ASEAN SMEWG seeks to ensure the advancement of SMEs in the region.

The ASEAN SMEWG has established joint consultations with the SME Agencies of the ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) and with Japan, which enables valuable exchanges of best practices and fruitful cooperation on several SME Projects and Workshops.

There are five major deliverables targeted for SME under the AEC Blueprint namely the establishments of (a) a common curriculum for entrepreneurship in ASEAN (2008-2009); (b) comprehensive SME service centre with regional and sub-regional linkages in AMSs (2010-2011); (c) SME financial facility in each AMS (2010-2011); (d) a regional program of internship scheme for staff exchanges and visits for skills training (2012-2013); and (e) a regional SME development fund for use as a funding source for SMEs that are undertaking business in ASEAN (2014-2015).

Contact Points

i) ASEAN SME Advisory Board

- Chair Person of ASEAN SME Advisory Board

Ms. Dato’ Hafsah Hashim

Chief Executive Officer

SME Corporation Malaysia

- Members of ASEAN SME Advisory Board

ii) ASEAN SME Agencies Working Group (ASEAN SMEWG)

- Chair Person of ASEAN SMEWG

Mr. Mahdi Mohd Ariffin

Deputy Chief Executive Officer

SME Corp Malaysia

- SMEWG Leaders

iii) ASEAN Secretariat

Ms. Penchan Manawanitkul

Senior Officer Enterprise Development, Competition, Consumer Protection, Intellectual Property Division, ASEAN Economic Community Department

Phone: +62-21-724 3372 / +62-21-726 2991 ext. 354

Fax: +62-21-739 8234, 724 3504

Email: penchan.manawanitkul@asean.org