ASEAN-BAC Phl chair Joey Concepcion shared ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN), his ASEAN BAC legacy project, on a forum at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit held in Thailand last Nov. 2-3.
Promoting public-private partnerships in asean
GO NEGOSYO PILIPINAS ANGAT LAHAT! - Joey Concepcion (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2019 - 12:00am

The little voice we have can be a conduit of change. That is why when we are lent a microphone and a million ears, we always make sure that the words we speak echo our aspiration for the people which is inclusive growth and prosperity fueled by cooperation between and among government and private institutions.

We did just that in the many engagements we had in conjunction with the 35th ASEAN Summit held in Bangkok, Thailand. I had the honor of speaking at both the Inclusive Business Conference and the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2019 where one forum was called ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) for MSMEs. ABIS is ASEAN’s premier business and investment event organized by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC). This year, over 1,200 heads of governments, business leaders and international organization leaders joined the event. Thailand holds the ASEAN chairmanship this year, but which will be handed over to Vietnam next year.

I am pleased to share that the ASEAN leaders have accepted AMEN, which is my legacy project as the chairman of the ASEAN-BAC last 2017. Geared towards helping our micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises through the 3Ms model (money, market, and mentorship), its pilot program was launched in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines last March and is set to be completed by the end of November. The panel was delighted to report on the effectiveness of the pool of mentors created under AMEN, as well as the many world-class modules in supporting MSMEs across the region. Because of the positive results of the project, Brunei is now gearing up to adopt the program in their own country. Likewise, other countries are moving on their own now with their mentorship and entrepreneurship programs patterned after my 3Ms model. Our program has also reached countries such as Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, and even Australia.

The AMEN program is a testimony to the importance of leveraging the knowledge, expertise and business acumen of successful business leaders and entrepreneurs as potent tools for developing MSMEs, a sector that generally struggles during the first three years of operation.  It also affirms the effectiveness of our very own mentorship program, the Kapatid Mentor Micro-Enterprises (KMME) Program, which Go Negosyo has been implementing since 2017 in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

I also shared that the interests of the bulk of our MSMEs will be best served if ASEAN countries will focus on agriculture and tourism. With proper mentorship, farmers and agri-preneurs can take advantage of the vast opportunities that lie in these sectors.

Likewise, I spoke of the necessity for the ASEAN to embrace digitalization for development. Enhancing MSME access through digital technologies is a fundamental element in ensuring inclusivity in the ASEAN community.

ABIS 2019 also had the same objective of activating partnerships in the public and private sector towards a seamless transition into the fourth industrial revolution (4th IR). With the theme, “Empowering ASEAN 4.0,” it focused on digital infrastructure, digital connectivity, the organization’s next big initiative, the ASEAN Human Empowerment and Development (AHEAD) project, and MSMEs.

Only by capitalizing on innovation and technology will ASEAN countries maintain the fast pace they are on right now towards growth. Creating a competitive environment for our digitally-equipped MSMEs is what will further spur trade and investments essential for development. This is what we in Go Negosyo have been doing, especially in recent years. We have been helping our offline enterprises move to online and harness other useful tools that would help them innovate. We also have been helping our skilled workers find employment online through various digital apps and online platforms that our Angat Lahat sa Digital Alliance aims to strengthen. Our vision is to forge alliances with more public and private organizations to especially help those who are living below the poverty line.

The importance of public and private partnerships was also highlighted in the awarding ceremony of the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) held during the Gala Night of the summit. Close to 100 micro, small, medium and large entrepreneurs, including our own delegates from the Philippines received awards. The Philippine winners were Jeron Travel and Tours Corp for SME Excellence Award for Growth and SME Excellence Award for Employment; PetroSolar Corporation, SME Excellence Award for CSR; Mercato Centrale, SME Excellence Award for Innovation; Acudeen Technologies Inc., Digitalized MSME;  Acuatico Beach, Skill Development (Mid-tier); Tsuneishi Technical Services (Phils) Inc., Skill Development (Large Tier); Ma. Aurora Garcia of Mageo Consulting Inc., Women Entrepreneur; and, Startup, and IDE.

The ASEAN winners, on the other hand, were Natura Organics Skin Care Trading, Green Enterprise (Large Tier); International Container Terminal Services, Inc., Priority Integration Sector-Logistics; and Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, Priority Integration Sectors- Infrastructure.

The future looks bright for the ASEAN nations. I believe that through proper MSME education and mentorship, which the AMEN program aims to do, the ASEAN is on the right track to taking on the challenges of digitalization. As we work together towards the full realization of our advocacy of inclusive growth, we hope to bring in more organizations from the public and private sectors alike not only in the ASEAN, but also in the whole world.


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