Concepción, Chile, 5-6 September 2019
The 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM) with the theme of “Connecting People, Building the Future”concluded today on 6 September 2019 in the city of Concepción, Chile. YB Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof, Minister of Entrepreneur Development led the Malaysian delegation.
Preceding the SMEMM, officials also met for a two-day meeting of the 49th SME Working Group (SMEWG). Malaysia made a presentation to the SMEWG on the National
Entreprenuership Policy (NEP) which was launched on 11 July 2019. The NEP, which is
the first national policy document on entrepreneurship, was well received by the APEC economies. Some economies also expressed their interest to learn from Malaysia’s experience in this area of policy-making.
The APEC SME Ministers recognise the key role of SMEs as an essential source of economic growth and dynamism, along with the importance of digital transformation, financing and globalisation. These priority areas have direct correlation with APEC’s SME Working Group Strategic Plan 2017 to 2020 focusing on (i) entrepreneurship, innovation, and the internet and digital economy; (ii) financing for business expansion and capability development, (iii) inclusive business ecosystems that support SME growth; and (iv) market access for SMEs. The APEC SME Ministers will also continue to support cross- fora collaboration to address the issues of ethics in promoting transparency and integrity as these are vital in the process of internationalisation of SMEs.
During the meeting, YB Minister made a presentation on Malaysia’s experience vis-à-vis digitalisation for SMEs and entrepreneurs. He highlighted the role of innovation and technology as well as high growth startups in advancing the growth of SME ecosystem in Malaysia. He stressed that these are integral enablers that serve to increase efficiency as well as productivity of SMEs and consequently expand their market reach. Malaysia will continue to focus on the creation of high growth and innovative businesses through
targeted assistance in automation, digitalisation and robotics, while increasing support for micro-enterprises and start-ups. YB Minister also highlighted the importance of cybersecurity to protect SMEs in a connected world while pursuing the digitalisation agenda. He urged for such discussions to be escalated in future APEC SME activities.
The APEC SMEMM also noted that in order for SMEs to continue their growth, financing is crucial. Technological innovation has led to the emergence of alternative financing mechanisms, and this is a welcome development as traditional forms of financing may no longer be viable to cater to the needs of SMEs. For Malaysia, alternative financing models such as equity crowdfunding (ECF) and peer-to-peer (P2P) is already available, including the SME Investment Partner (SIP) programme recently launched by SME Corporation
Malaysia on 9 July 2019.
YB Minister of Entrepreneur Development also shared his views on the importance of
SMEs’ contribution to the global value chains (GVCs). He emphasised that SMEs could offer lower production cost of inputs to large firms through domestic linkages to export markets. He noted that internationalisation goes beyond exports and imports. He further suggested that the concept of internationalisation encompasses activities such as licensing, franchising, subcontracting agreements, providing avenues for foreign direct investment (FDIs), joint ventures (JVs) and exchange of technology.
YB Datuk Seri Redzuan Yusof and the delegation also had a series of bilateral
discussions with the relevant counterparts and senior officials from China, Chile, Peru
and the US regarding potential collaboration in the area of SME and startups. China has proposed for collaboration in areas such as technology exchange as well as halal products and services. As a start, Malaysia will consider participating in the APEC Business Forum scheduled to be held in Shenzhen, China on 17 – 19 December 2019.
Taking over the helm as the next host of SMEMM in 2020, the Ministry of Entrepreneurship Development is looking forward to working closely with the APEC
Secretariat to uphold APEC goals and agendas for SME development among the APEC economies. For APEC Year 2020 in Malaysia, MED has successfully bid for funding for three APEC projects, namely a 2-day workshop for APEC Young Entrepreneurs scheduled in February 2020, an APEC Policy Dialogue on SMEs and Entrepreneurship in May 2020 as well as an APEC Startup Investment Forum in September 2020. Further details on these programmes in Malaysia will be made available soon.
Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (MED)
6 September 2019