Pushing For MSME Development

RJ Ledesma; Le Duy Binh, chief economist of Economica Vietnam; Fatin Arifin, vice president of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Brunei; Sec. Ramon Lopez; Lamoiyan’s Cecilio Pedro; Dr. Benjamin Quinones, chairman of the Asian Solidarity Economy Council); and author, presidential adviser Joey Concepcion

Last Friday, MSMEs were once again put in the spotlight as the Department of Trade and Industry hosted the ASEAN 2017 MSME Development Summit, a part of the ASEAN @ 50 activities under Philippine chairmanship. The ASEAN Business Advisory Council (BAC) fully supports this program for MSMEs.


Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, who has been one of the staunch MSME champions in the country since his time with Go Negosyo, reiterated the role of MSMEs in the growing economy — not just in the country, but also across the ASEAN region. He said, “Growth can only be successful if we empower the bottom of the pyramid.” He shared stories of how some entrepreneurs started from being small to successfully leveling up.

I was honored to be part of the forum discussing the goal of ASEAN, which is providing prosperity for all. I was joined by Dr. Hafsah Hashim, CEO of SME Corporation Malaysia; Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, chair of the senate committee on Trade Commerce and Entrepreneurship; Kurt Wee, president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises Singapore; and Gov. Nestor Espenilla Jr., Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

As I shared during my speech, “The power of mentorship is the key to helping us succeed.” This is why, aside from the DTI-Go Negosyo Kapatid Mentor ME program — one of the successful private-public partnership programs — ASEAN BAC established the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN), which will create the largest pool of mentors across the region.

It is exciting to know that we all have one vision for MSMEs and that is for them to become an integral part of the economy and for them to be embraced by a greater market, making them level up. Our advocacy in partnership with DTI remains constant in boosting the efficiency of entrepreneurial culture in our country.

By bringing together private and public sectors, government enablers are taking MSMEs to another level. We can have prosperity for all. This is the start of productivity and an affluent change for our MSMEs. We are working hard to empower them to excel and put them at the forefront of business.


The whole-day discussion of the 7Ms (Mindset, Mastery, Mentoring, Markets, Money, Machines and Models) was all for one mission: for MSMEs to achieve prosperity.


SRW&Co. Provide Scholarship to ASEAN Business Awards Winners

Jakarta, 13 July 2017. The ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) and SRW&Co. signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to reinforce their strategic partnership which was
made in 2016. ASEAN-BAC was represented by Mr. Anangga W. Roosdiono, ASEAN-BAC Indonesia Chair on behalf of Mr. Jose Ma. A. Concepcion III, ASEAN-BAC Chair, while SRW&Co. was represented by its Chairman Mr. Daniel Wong.

Following the success of the strategic partnership made in 2016, where 3 ASEAN Business Award (ABA) winners attended the ASEAN Global Leadership Program (AGLP) in UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and with the very positive feedback from the 3 awardees, SRW&Co. will offer the 2018 AGLP scholarship for selected ABA awardees to attend the AGLP in a global business school in 2018.

The AGLP is a custom designed 5-day program focusing on the 4 key themes of Globalization, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Leadership. The program is well attended by top executives from both the corporate and public sectors in the South East Asia region. The AGLP rovides a learning platform for the participants to address the challenges and opportunities in he AEC context, while promoting business networking for the participants from the South East Asia countries. The first AGLP was launched in 2009 in collaboration with the University of Cambridge Judge Business School in UK, followed by the Cheung Kong Graduate of Business
in China, the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business in USA, and the London Business School in UK. To date, the AGLP Alumni comprise some 300 top executives at the C-suite and Board level in the corporate sector, including policy makers and regulators from the public sector.

Since its establishment by the ASEAN Leaders in 2003, ASEAN-BAC has been active in promoting ublic-private sector partnership and consultation to assist the integration of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2017. In its efforts to bridge ASEAN Governments with its private sectors, the Council launched ABA in 2007 to give recognition to enterprises that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN economy.

ABA was conceived to be the first of its kind in the region, with the dual objectives of recognising outstanding ASEAN enterprises, and to serve as a platform to spread information
concerning the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). In addition, ABA also brings to the spotlight promising ASEAN small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have the potential of becoming global economic players.

UPDATE: 71st ASEAN Business Advisory Council Meeting and Digitise ASEAN Conference 2017

The ASEAN Business Advisory Council held its 71st Council Meeting at the SBF Center in Singapore last June 20-21, 2017.

ASEAN BAC invited people from the government sector to further enhance private sector engagement. Dr. Johnny Noe E. Ravalo, the Assistant Governor of the Office of Systemic Risk Management of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas discussed the status and key issues on Banking Integration while Comm. Atty. Ephyro Luis Amatong tackled challenges on Capital Markets Integration. 

Representatives from the ASEAN-Japan Business Council provided updates on the ASEAN Japan Innovation Network. 

Ms. Josephine Romero, the Adviser to the Chair of ASEAN BAC shared to the Council the highlights of the recently concluded Prosperity for All Summit that is the take-off point of the newly formed Alliance for Prosperity for All. She also took on the opportunity to update the Council on the remaining programs for the year and what support is needed for each. 

This was followed by the report from Mr. Gil Gonzales who attended the ASEAN Coordinating Committee for MSME at Kuala Terranganu in Malaysia and reports from the Working Groups on MSME, E-Commerce and Business Women. 

There was also a discussion on revamping the ASEAN BAC Website and Legacy Projects as provided by Mr. George Barcelon. 

The first day of the meeting ended with an executive session among the Council Members. 

The second day of the ASEAN BAC Meeting proceeded with the exclusive dialogues with US- ASEAN Business Council and ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Council. 


Organized by the Singapore Business Federation and supported by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, APEC Business Advisory Council, Singapore APEC Study Centre - ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute and ASEAN Studies Centre, the Digitize ASEAN Conference 2017 was held last June 19 at the SBF Center in Singapore.


The conference examined the different business opportunities in the E-Commerce Industry and brought together the key players in ASEAN and government officials who shared their insights and strategies for the region on how the small and medium enterprises can adopt technology and transform their businesses to prevent themselves from getting wiped out by the digital wave.

Young and Thriving ASEAN Entrepreneurs Changing the Game

Young and Thriving ASEAN Entrepreneurs Changing the Game

These group of under 30 individuals have gained international recognition for their entrepreneurial drive, innovative spirit, and business success. Their young age hasn’t stopped them from greatly impacting their respective fields that range from energy, agriculture, education, food and many more. Here is the definitive list of young entrepreneurs from the different ASEAN countries who are drastically changing the entrepreneurial landscape:


Leandro Leviste (Solar Philippines)

A 23-year-old undergraduate at Yale University and son of Senator Loren Legarda and businessman Tony Leviste. Leviste started Solar Philippines in 2013 when he saw the opportunity of providing solar power in the Philippines. His goal is to put solar panels on every single rooftop to help bring down electricity rates in the Philippines. Solar Philippines partnered with the country’s biggest mall provider SM Prime Holdings for his company’s projects. Leviste is planning to do more solar panel projects for other malls.  Solar Philippines is said to be the Philippines’ top solar power provider and is the largest developer of Solar Rooftop power plants in South East Asia. Solar Philippines is committed to sustainable development and renewable energy to help reduce both electricity costs and carbon footprint.

 Raphael Antonio Mijeno and Aisa Mijeno (SALt)


A graduate of Bachelor of Science in Business Management and has worked for an Australian and British firm. He has background in accounting, finance and sales. Naturally born artistic, he has an eye for art and design. SALt was conceived when Aisa, a computer engineer and member of Greenpeace Philippines experienced living with the natives of the Kalinga mountains and realized that they only had kerosene lamps to be able to see things at night. As kerosene is by no means affordable, safe or sustainable, she decided to come up with an alternative. She then decided to partner up with her brother, Raphael since he was a business management graduate. A partnership between Raphael and his sister Aisa was able to create Sustainable Alternative Lighting, a sustainable and cost-effective ecologically designed lamp powered by tap water and table salt. The concept has gained recognition and won awards all over the region.


Gibran Huzaifah Amsi El Farizy (eFishery)
eFishery founder and CEO Gibran Huzaifah was a fish farmer-turned-agriculture tech entrepreneur. He started his entrepreneurship while he was in his second year in college. He set up catfish farming business in 2011 and built it until it has 83 units of hatchery ponds now. After he graduated from biological science ITB in 2012, he saw an opportunity in supporting technology for fish farmers. He began to build eFishery through fish farming in Indonesia that enable farmers to feed the fish automatically, sense the fish appetite, and connected to the internet. After months of research and hundreds of units of sales, eFishery is now recognized as one of the most distinguished IoT startups in Indonesia, as it is focusing and addressing the big issue and creating impacts for both people and environment.


Indonesia’s Gibran Huzaifah Amsi El Farizy (eFishery) and 4. Heni Sri Sundani Jaladara (Smart Farmer Kids in Action & AgroEdu Jampang Community)

Heni Sri Sundani Jaladara (Founder, Smart Farmer Kids in Action & AgroEdu Jampang Community)
Born into poverty, Sundani went to Hong Kong as a domestic helper to support her family. Despite unfortunate events, she was able to attend college and graduate with honors from St. Mary’s University in Hong Kong with a degree of Entrepreneurial Management. Upon returning to Indonesia, she founded Smart Farmer Kids in Action & AgroEdu Jampang Community. It’s a free school and community program to help eradicate poverty.


Christopher Hwang and Jonathan Shen (Cofounders, The Golden Duck)


The Golden Duck Founders: Jonathan Shen (left) and Christopher Hwang (right).

Jonathan Shen is a marketing manager for the Massive Collective Group of companies, and Co-Founder of TGD (The Golden Duck) Singapore. Chris Hwang is a serial entrepreneur, potential law school dropout and Co-Founder, TGD (The Golden Duck) Singapore; Co-Founder, Impressionist: The Interview Specialists; Investor in Suite 26, Vanity Lounge, and Armoury Gastrobar; Investor in Massive Collective. As the cofounders of Singaporean food company, The Golden Duck Co., Shen and Hwang took advantage of a craze for salted egg yolk there, by creating a series of handcrafted gourmet snack products – from potato chips to crunchy fish skin – with this distinctive flavor. The Golden Duck Co. now sells an average of 10,000 packets of snacks per week.

Qin En Looi, Ying Cong Seah and Oswald Yeo (Cofounders, Glints)


From left: Glints founders – Oswald Yeo, Qin En Looi and Ying Cong Seah.

Three Singaporean entrepreneurs dropped out of Berkeley, Standford and Wharton to launch Glints, a talent recruitment and career discovery platform for young people to find the right internship and job opportunities. Glints sought to bridge this mismatch between employer needs and skills young talent have on offer. They started by helping theirs friends source for internships by building up their career readiness through practical & real-world experiences. Glints has managed to raise $2.7 million from East Ventures, Singapore Infocomm Investments, 500 Startups and others with a 20% monthly growth rate.


Chee Hau Goh and Nadhir Ashafiq Zainal Abidin (Cofounders, TheLorry)


TheLorry Founders: Chee Hau Goh (left) and Nadhir Ashafiq Zainal Abidin (right).

Goh worked as a cargo manager for several global airlines before founding his own business, while Ashafiq has worked as an associate at the CIMB investment bank. Founded in 2014, The Lorry offers on demand cargo transportation services throughout Malaysia. The startup helps more than 1000 drivers with clients who can book vehicles as well as extra services such as packing and dismantling via its online platform.

Neelofa (Founder NH Prima International Sdn Bd)


A Malaysian actress, television and commercial model before entering into the world of entrepreneurship. She loved fashion and had a passion for business so she combined the two and proceeded to set up her own label. Neelofa and her partners decided to revolutionize and simplify modest fashion, to make shawls more practical and easier to wear. After countless trials and errors, they came up with a design for an instant shawl and launched Naelofar Hijab in 2014. They started selling the shawls online and at bazaars. The instant shawls were a hit and there was an increase in demand. Currently there are stocks in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. Business has expanded and along with Naelofar Hijab, Neelofa have also created two other labels Nalelofar Abaya, featuring modern and stylish abayas and Lofalens, a brand offering fashionable contact lenses.


Vasa Iamsuri (Founding Partner, Fastwork Technologies)


Iamsuri is the founding partner of Fastwork, the fastest growing online freelance marketplace in Thailand. The startup matches companies, mainly small and medium enterprises, with over 3,000 freelancers who are experts in 50 categories such as software development, design and illustration, content marketing, and video editing. Users can browse a variety of freelance categories and start talking to the freelancer and If there a match they can then place an order. Unlike other freelancing sites, Fastwork protects both sides of the marketplace. The startup has so far generated US$300,000 in income for freelancers and this number is growing at 37 percent month-on-month.


Daroath Phav (Executive Director WaterSHED)


He is the Executive Director of WaterSHED. He has a background in accounting and audit, a strong sense of business and an eye for detail.He previously served as WASH Marketing Manager, responsible for WaterSHED’s pioneering sanitation marketing activities. He has been a driving force behind many of the organization’s leading initiatives, including its linkages with micro-finance for consumer purchase. Mr. Phav coordinates market development activities in rural Cambodia across a variety of stakeholder, partners, and donors. Managing a team that works across an area that is home to 40 percent of Cambodia’s population, he ensures the accountability and transparency of the organization, and oversees staff training and program quality.


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