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Business

Lawmaker backs stronger infra technology to support SME development

Kathleen A. Martin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The government should strengthen the country’s infrastructure for technology to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) unlock their full potential, Sen. Grace Poe said in a statement.

“Technology infrastructure is the critical element in unlocking the potential of SMEs and start-ups for economic growth. This is where the government should focus its efforts,” Poe said.

“At the Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) SME summit which the country is hosting, Manila was identified as one of three cities in the world projected to be a center of global innovation along with Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. But the sad reality is that our growth will continue to be limited by the slow pace of expansion of technology infrastructure,” she said.

The lawmaker explained there should be working communication networks, hardware, and software in one platform to ensure small businesses can use this technology infrastructure to their benefit.

This, as the country continues to be a “hotbed of innovation,” Poe said. She cited start-up Salt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting) of Aisa Mijeno, who was among the speakers in one of the sessions at the APEC Summit in Manila.

“Ms. Mijeno is living proof that the Philippines is a goldmine of innovation. She and many other Filipinos have proven that there is no shortage of talent in the country. But we need to give Ms. Mijeno and other Filipino innovators the much-needed support,” Poe said.

While many foreign investors have expressed interest in pouring money in the Philippines, Poe said the lack of infrastructure and other stumbling blocks have prevented them from doing so.

“It is the same in the technology sector which impacts the growth of SMEs and start-ups. Until we can put in place the infrastructure and guarantee consistent, and cheap communications network that can interconnect businesses, industries, investors, and even universities and research organizations, we will never be able to achieve our full potential as a competitive SME and technology player not only in the region but in the world,” Poe said.

SMEs make up 97 percent of businesses in Asia-Pacific, data from APEC showed. They also account for 20 to 50 percent of their countries’ gross domestic product (GDP).

Poe said the government should consider issues hindering the growth and sustainability of SMEs and start-ups through a “realistic” roadmap.

She added the lack of funds, the need for reliable communications and data networks, and provision of technical information for SMEs are among those that need to be addressed “immediately.”

ACIRC

AISA MIJENO

ASIA-PACIFIC

ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION

AT THE APEC

GRACE POE

INFRASTRUCTURE

JAKARTA AND KUALA LUMPUR

MS. MIJENO

POE

SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE LIGHTING

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