PASAY, 27 September 2016 – To help small business development in the region, ASEAN, the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided training to a group of 30 business support organizations on the use of the online ASEAN SME Academy (Academy) <www.asean-sme-academy.org>.

Launched in May 2016, the Academy is a self-paced learning tool for micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) entrepreneurs. It offers courses and resources for businesses that can be accessed through computers, smart phones or tablets from anywhere in the world.

“The training of trainers programme aims to establish a network of experts who will work with their own network of MSMEs to make the best use of the Academy,” said Mr. Nguyen Hoa Cuong, Chair of the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Deputy Director-General, Agency for Enterprise Development, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Viet Nam. “As such, the programmes will help to promote and maximise the utilisation of the Academy by the MSMEs in the region to increase their business knowledge and opportunities, and enhance their competitiveness and prospects in supply-chain linkages.”

Currently, the Academy offers about 50 training courses covering finance and accounting, management, marketing, operations, technology, and trade and logistics.  Most of these courses are delivered by Fortune 500 company members of US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs, a partnership between USAID and the US-ASEAN Business Council that is co-implemented through the ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment project.

The Academy also contains over 350 web-links to business and entrepreneurs’ associations, domestic and international corporate initiatives supporting MSMEs, business development service providers, and government programmes fostering enterprise development. Many of these organisations support women-owned and/or women-operated enterprises and promote women’s entrepreneurship and greater gender equality in business in ASEAN.

Participants in the training were selected from trade and entrepreneur associations, education institutions, private organisations and government agencies supporting MSME development.

Today’s event at the Philippine Trade Training Centre in Pasay City is the first of a series of trainings. The next events will be in Cambodia (7-8 November), Lao PDR (12-13 October) and Indonesia (26-27 October).

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For more information about the ASEAN SME Academy and the Training of Trainers Programme, please contact Ms. Lisa Wijayani, ASEAN Secretariat (lisa.wijayani@asean.org), Ms. Rebecca Acuña (racuna@usaid.gov) at USAID, or Mr. Anthony Nelson (anelson@usasean.org) at the US-ASEAN Business Council.