ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Network (AYEN)

ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Association (AYEA)

Strategic Action Plan 2016-2020



  1. Background

  2. Objective of the Framework

  3. Structure



2.1Regional Private Sector Context

2.2Key Economic Challenges Facing ASEAN

2.3The Role of Young Entrepreneurs


3.1Vision and Mission Statements

3.2Strategic Directions (2016-2020)

3.3Strategic Goals (2017-2018)



4.1Desired Outcomes

4.2Key Performance Indicators





  1. Background

The ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Association (The Association) has been established under the auspices of the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Council, or AYEC (the Council). The Council, in turn, is a regional young entrepreneurs organisation incubated by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (A-BAC). The primary purpose of the A-BAC is to provide private sector feedback on the implementation of ASEAN Economic Cooperation and identify priority areas for consideration of the Leaders.

The establishment of the Council was in recognition of the unique characteristics of young entrepreneurship, with its own specific needs and potential to contribute more to ASEAN integration. The aim of this initiative was the inclusion of young entrepreneurship in the ASEAN economic pillar under the ASEAN Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration in 2013. Consisting of national young entrepreneur organisations from all 10 ASEAN Member States, each appointed by their respective ASEAN Economic Minister, the AYEC is registered in Malaysia in 2015 with 30 founding Council Members. The Council was inaugurated at the 2015 meeting of ASEAN Economic Ministers. An important mandate of the Council is to establish the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Association, in 2016.

The ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Association is a membership organisation. The members of the Association will be the national-level young entrepreneur associations and organisations. Whereas the Council has one official national young entrepreneurs’ association from each member state, as determined by the relevant minister, the Association membership will be much wider. ASEAN member states often have various organisations bringing young entrepreneurs together, represent them and provide networking and other opportunities.

1.2Objective of the Framework

This Strategic Framework identifies the unique role of young entrepreneurs in business, in economic development and in economic integration; provides a strategic focus for the Association; and outlines a Work Plan for the next few years. The Framework identifies issues and areas of engagement where the Association can potentially make a difference for the various associations of young entrepreneurs in the ten member states, and for their members. The Framework recognises the wide disparities among the ASEAN member countries while identifying commonalities in the private sector and for young entrepreneurs. In developing the Framework and especially the Work Plan, opportunities to pay special attention to the CLMV countries have been identified.



The next chapter contains a brief discussion of the regional private sector context, key economic challenges facing ASEAN (as far they are relevant in the present context) and the special role that young entrepreneurs can play in economic integration and job creation. Chapter 3 presents the Vision and Mission of the Association, the Strategic Directions for the period 2016-2020 and the more specific Strategic Goals to be achieved in 2017-2018.


2.1Regional Private Sector Context for Young Entrepreneurs

The ASEAN economies are externally oriented, depend on exports for much of their growth, and those exports are dominated by larger enterprises. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in ASEAN are more important for the domestic economies, provide a relatively small share of the private sector value added but are important for job creation and service provision. A substantial share of SMEs is in the informal sector. SMEs are by and large not part of the export success story of ASEAN and face numerous challenges which are reflected in the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for SME Development 2016-2025. Young entrepreneurs face additional challenges in becoming entrepreneurs, establishing enterprises and making businesses sustainable. Access to financing, technology and markets are among the more important ones. In addition, regulatory environments and established business practices are not always conducive to the introduction of new technologies and methods to address these challenges.

Support for young entrepreneurs in the ASEAN region needs considerable strengthening. Young entrepreneurs face numerous challenges for which support structures and policies need to be put in place. Schools and universities do not provide knowledge and skills to promote entrepreneurship. The capacity building challenge is therefore substantial. Young entrepreneurs face significant challenges accessing finance. The requirements of the traditional finance sector do not suit young entrepreneurs. Alternative financing models are available (financial technology, peer-to-peer lending, crowd sourcing for example) but often the regulatory environment is not conducive. Access to knowledge and technology are often limited. There is a great need for support structures (incubators for example) that will help young entrepreneurs gain access to mentors, networks and markets to develop their ideas.


2.2Key Economic Challenges Facing ASEAN


The ASEAN region is a young, dynamic and rapidly growing region. The region has a population of over 630 million. An estimated 125 million households are member of a quickly growing middle class. The size of the ASEAN economy is estimated to be $2.4 trillion. A key characteristic of the ASEAN is its diversity, with countries ranging from small (Brunei) to large (Indonesia), from poor (Lao PDR, Myanmar) to rich (Brunei, Singapore), from a young population (Lao PDR, Philippines) to ageing populations (Singapore, Thailand). A number of countries depend heavily on agriculture (Lao PDR, Cambodia, Myanmar, Viet Nam), while others have a large services sector (Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore). Yet, the ASEAN as a whole faces a set of common challenges, four of which are highlighted here.


Unemployment, under employment, informality of employment and low job quality are common challenges throughout the region. These issues are linked to education and skills development, mismatch between demand and supply of labour and skills, and the shift in employment from agriculture and industry to services.


A second common challenge facing the region is its rapid urbanisation, with over 50% of the ASEAN population now living in cities. This trend provides many opportunities in especially the services sector, but poses a large number of challenges in terms of management, environment, liveability, service provision and growing inequality.


A third common issue is that of the challenge of unlocking the potential of SMEs. The SME sector is important in ASEAN, with its share of total establishments ranging from 89% to 98%, and its share in total employment ranging from 52% to 98%. Yet it faces a number of important challenges, including low productivity, access to finance, access to skills and technology, and access to global markets, to name a few. Most notably, the share of SMEs in total exports is low, varying from 16% in Singapore to 31% in Thailand. In addition, SMEs have a minimal share in regional production networks.


Finally, the ASEAN region is dynamic and outward looking. This results in a high percentage of national exports going outside the ASEAN region. An estimated 75% of exports go outside the region, and only 25% constitutes intra-ASEAN trade. Promoting intra-ASEAN trade, an important objective of the AEC, is key to future economic growth and employment opportunities. Because of its exposure to the global economy and its dependence on exports to the main trading blocks, ASEAN will feel the full force of important global economic and social developments, some of which are briefly highlighted in the next paragraph.  


The OECD economies are experiencing important structural shifts, principally driven by new technology. These include a shift from a managed to a more entrepreneurial economy, where R&D and innovation move from the government and large corporations to SMEs; aging populations; an increasing importance of knowledge and information driving the economy; the growing importance of new media and of computer networks; the growing importance of social entrepreneurship; and the declining importance of manufacturing. Furthermore, the OECD plus China appear to be entering into a prolonged period of low growth, low inflation bordering on deflation, low commodity prices and increasing income and wealth disparities.


2.3The Role of Young Entrepreneurs


Young entrepreneurs in ASEAN are well-positioned to utilise and promote new technologies to drive future economic growth and job creation in a rapidly changing global economic and social environment. They are often innovative, dynamic, willing to take risks and to challenge the accepted way of doing business. Young entrepreneurs will be able to deal with the challenges of today and tomorrow by applying new business models centred on technology, develop new networks, and by quickly utilising new technologies as they become available. Equally important is that young entrepreneurs are often acutely aware of modern day global challenges (such as climate change) and the need for ethical and sustainable business development. More specifically, it is becoming clear that governments worldwide are no longer in a position to ensure sufficient employment opportunities through a mix of policies and direct intervention. The unique and important role of young entrepreneurs lies at this cross roads of their innovative and dynamic attitude towards the technology driven economy and the diminishing traditional employment model. In other words, young entrepreneurs create the momentum to move the economy forward through new technologies and innovation, and provide employment opportunities.




3.1Vision and Mission Statements


The Vision of the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Association is to be a driving force to ensure that young entrepreneurs play a key role in the economic and social development of ASEAN and support its integration.


The Mission of the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Association is to create a pan-ASEAN network that will provide a common voice, to promote and support innovation, technology, skills development and connectivity for young entrepreneurs to drive modern technology-centred economic development.


3.2Strategic Directions (Medium Term, 2016-2020)


The strategic directions are to guide the AYEA in its work to implement its Mission. The strategic directions are more general statements with the intention to provide longer term structure and direction for the work of the Association. This will then be the basis for three shorter term strategic goals which will determine the work plan.


Strategic Direction 1


Promoting increased cooperation and practice sharing amongst member associations and bridging them to international networks. Membership of the AYEA is open to all young entrepreneurs’ associations in ASEAN, of which there are more than one in many member states. The AYEA will act as an umbrella organisation to bring the member associations together, share knowledge and best practices, and help further build their capacities. The AYEA will also develop a strong network with regional and national young entrepreneurs’ associations outside the ASEAN with the aim of sharing experiences and best practice.


Strategic Direction 2


Supporting young entrepreneurship through knowledge sharing, know-how and best practices. The AYEA will function as a clearinghouse for young entrepreneurs on relevant topics, including access to technology, finance and markets. A data base will be established on young entrepreneurs in ASEAN to enable linkages between them across the ASEAN. This will allow the AYEA to function as an advisory body for young entrepreneurs on doing pan-ASEAN business. The establishment of a training program with AYEA certification will be explored.


Strategic Direction 3


Ensuring that young entrepreneurs are fully represented towards ASEAN decision-making bodies and external organizations. The AYEA will be the key organisation for coordinating policy dialogue and advocacy on behalf of young entrepreneurs, through the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Council, with key decision-makers, such the ASEAN Leaders, the ASEAN Economic Ministers, the ASEAN Secretariat, and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council. Where appropriate, the Association will also support national associations in their dialogue and advocacy with their respective national governments. A number of international organisations (Asian Development Bank, World Bank, International Finance Corporation) and key ASEAN dialogue partners (Australia, New Zealand, EU, USA) are engaging ASEAN as a whole and individual ASEAN Member States in policy dialogue to promote the interests of the business sector as a whole, and the SME sector in particular. The AYEA will engage with these partners to raise awareness of young entrepreneur issues and aspirations and to ensure that policy dialogue will be conducted to support young entrepreneur development.


Strategic Direction 4


Pursuing studies, publishing papers and presenting results at conferences towards a more entrepreneurship-friendly legislative, financial and educational environment in ASEAN. Policy dialogue and advocacy need to be based on sound theoretical and empirical evidence. The AYEA will network with appropriate national, regional and international research institutes and other organisations to ensure that research relevant to young entrepreneurs is carried and disseminated. Where necessary, the AYEA will commission research on issues and present results at conferences and ASEAN-level meetings. The AYEA will also collaborate with schools and universities to promote entrepreneurship and raise awareness.


3.3Strategic Goals (2017-2018)


The first two years of the establishment of the AYEA will be critical in ensuring that the organisation gains credibility, is able to mobilise resources and shows relevant results. The establishment and resourcing of the AYEA Secretariat is a critical issue to be addressed in the first year. It is equally important that strong working relationships with the national associations are established, as much of the initial work will be accomplished through networking and volunteering time and resources. The work of the AYEA, especially in the first two years, needs to be highly focused and service oriented to ensure that resources are used to the benefit of the members. The short term strategic goals and, eventually, the more detailed work plan need to reflect this.


Strategic Goal A


Establish the AYEA Secretariat. The success and sustainability of the AYEA will depend on the extent to which it will meet the expectations and needs of its members and can generate the resources required for its operations. The first two to three years are critical, as the AYEA will not yet be able to offer fee-based services, but will need financial and other resources to develop its capacity to deliver such services. The establishment of the AYEA Secretariat has therefore the highest priority in the action plan, in addition to working towards three other strategic goals.


Strategic Goal B


Establish a Directory of young entrepreneurs in ASEAN. The Directory will be made available to the members as a service to promote networking, business linking and market development for young entrepreneurs.


Strategic Goal C


Develop training modules for young entrepreneurs. The purpose of the training modules is to build the capacity of young entrepreneurs in areas that are critical for success. Initially, modules could include accounting, financial technology and market development. The training will be provided as a service and in the longer run will lead to certification.


Strategic Goal D


Establish an agenda for policy dialogue and advocacy in areas where the common voice of young entrepreneurs through the AYEA is important. It is important to have a detailed and credible agenda for the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Council to discuss, on behalf of all young entrepreneurs, with the relevant officials and bodies of ASEAN. This agenda will need to have a mix of issues that are more short term in nature (low hanging fruit) and those that have a longer term impact.




4.1Desired Outcomes


It is useful to specify for each Strategic Goal which outcomes needs to be achieved. This will allow for better formulation of actions and will assist in monitoring progress towards achieving the goals. For each Strategic Goal, three desired outcomes have been identified.


A.Establish the AYEA Secretariat


A1.The AYEA Secretariat will have adequate staffing

A2.The AYEA Secretariat will have operational funding

A3.The AYEA web site has been designed and is operational


B.Establish a Directory of young entrepreneurs in ASEAN


B1.An on-line Directory has been designed and tested

B2.A data collection method has been formulated and sources identified

B3.Data collection and input has started


C.Develop training modules for young entrepreneurs


C1.Priority training topics have been identified

C2.Training modules have been developed

C3.Delivery has started


D.Establish an agenda for policy dialogue and advocacy in areas where the common voice of young entrepreneurs through the AYEA is important


D1.Policy priorities have been identified

D2.A policy dialogue agenda has been developed

D3.A dialogue with the AYEC on the priorities has started


4.2Key Performance Indicators


Twelve Key Performance Indicators will be used to guide and monitor the achievement of the strategic goals. The key performance indicators are a policy tool to guide decision-making and evaluate the achievements.


Strategic Goals


Key Performance Indicators




Establish the AYEA Secretariat


AYEA Secretariat fully operational

AYEA Secretariat adequately funded

AYEA Web site established




Establish a Directory of young entrepreneurs in ASEAN


Online Database and Directory designed

Data collection system established

Regular collection of data started




Develop training modules for young entrepreneurs


Priority topics for training modules identified

Three training modules completed

Training completed in at least 2 countries




Establish an agenda for policy dialogue and advocacy in areas where the common voice of young entrepreneurs through the AYEA is important.


Literature research on policy areas completed

Surveys on members’ priorities implemented

Regular policy dialogue with AYEC established



A.Establish the AYEA Secretariat


The establishment of the AYEA Secretariat is of the highest priority as this will determine the relevance and the long term sustainability of the organisation. It is assumed that the Secretariat will initially be hosted by the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia. The minimum number of staff and computer equipment needs to be determined, terms of reference drafted and an initial work plan approved. Funding will be a critical issue. In the first two to three years, prior to the AYEA being able to offer fee-based services, funding needs to come from membership fees, the A-BAC and the Mekong Business Initiative, which have offered matching funds. Another critical issue is the design of an open and user-friendly web site as the core communication tool of the Association.


Desired Outcomes


A1. The AYEA Secretariat will have adequate staffing

Identify required positions and draft TOR

Advertise and recruit staff

Identify possible part-time volunteers

A2. The AYEA Secretariat will have operational funding

Determine initial contributions from national associations

Secure initial funding from the A-BAC

Explore possibility of corporate sponsorships

A3. The AYEA web site has been designed and is operational

Draft requirements for website

Identify design company

Determine web site maintenance requirements

B.Establish a Directory of young entrepreneurs in ASEAN


The Directory, or database, will be one of the premier services of the Association. The Directory will contain essential information on young entrepreneurs in ASEAN, which will enable networking, targeted connections, targeted marketing and linking within and outside ASEAN. Good design of the database will be important to ensure flexibility, user friendliness, possibility of fee-based access and possible future data mining activities.


Desired Outcomes


B1. An on-line Directory has been designed and tested

Engage a firm to design web site

Populate with test data

Confirm fully functioning site

B2. A data collection method has been formulated and sources identified

Identify the data to be collected

Identify the sources of those data

Ensure availability of data

B3. Data collection and input has started

Data is being collected

Data is being input into the system

C.Develop training modules for young entrepreneurs


Young entrepreneurs in ASEAN have extensive training needs, ranging from the basic (i.e. book keeping) to sophisticated skills (i.e. financial engineering). The AYEA will be uniquely positioned to identify and provide those training opportunities. It will take time to build a portfolio of training modules, identify suitable delivery methods (online, web-based or face-to-face) and bring it to a level that fees can be raised. The first few years will be used to develop he framework and the first few training modules.


Desired Outcomes


C1. Priority training topics have been identified

Survey young entrepreneur associations

Identify three priority topics

C2. Training modules have been developed

Engage experts to develop training modules

Develop three training modules

C3. Delivery has started

Deliver the training modules in at least 2 countries

D.Establish an agenda for policy dialogue and advocacy in areas where the common voice of young entrepreneurs through the AYEA is important


Developing such an agenda will enable the Association, and the Council, to engage in meaningful policy dialogue to not only further the interests of young entrepreneurs in ASEAN, but also to raise awareness of the unique role that young entrepreneurs can play in furthering ASEAN integration.


Desired Outcomes


D1. Policy priorities have been identified

Complete desk research on policies

Survey young entrepreneur associations

Identify three priority areas for policy action

D2. A policy dialogue agenda has been developed

Develop detailed agenda for policy dialogue on young entrepreneur issues

D3. A dialogue with the AYEC on the priorities has started

Engage the AYEC on the policy agenda to ensure policy issues are debated at the appropriate levels in ASEAN and the member governments



Resourcing is a critical issue during the start-up phase of the AYEA. Without adequate financial and human resources, the Association may not get off the ground or be sustainable and will not be able to provide services to its members.


A. Financial Resources


Once the AYEA is fully established, it will have services to offer for which members and individual young entrepreneurs will be prepared to pay. During the start-up phase, membership fees from the various young entrepreneur associations will need to be supplemented by contributions from A-BAC, the MBI programme and possible corporate sponsorships.


B.Human Resources


The Secretariat will be staffed by one or two paid employees while relying on volunteers for many of its activities. Mapping out which actions will be the responsibility of which national-level association or member is the next step in the process.


ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Working Group

Contact List

As of 13 June 2016


Brunei Darussalam


Young Entrepreneurs Association of Brunei Darussalam

Hjh Norlela H.A.B


Fatin Arifin

Vice President

Edwin Solomon Khan


YEAB Secretariat

C/O Cedar Management Services

No.179 Km1 Jln. Gadong

Kg. Kumbang Pasang BA1511

Negara Brunei Darussalam

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia

Oknha Sok Piseth


Kouch Pheng

Board of Director

Lim Socheat

Board of Director

6th floor, suite 6FD, Parkway square, Moa Tse Tong Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Indonesia Young Entrepreneurs Association (HIPMI)

Bahlil Lahadalia


Alexander Tio

International and Tourism Affairs Division Deputy Chairman

Raditya Priamanaya Djan

Secretary General


Hans Lukiman


Gedung Palma One - Lantai 10

Jl HR Rasuna Said Kav X-2 No. 4

Jakarta Selatan




Young Entrepreneur Association of Lao (YEAL)

Dr. Hongkham Souvannavong


Dr. Anousone Rassavong


Litthikay Phoummasak

Secretary General

Lao Young Entrepreneur Association

2nd Floor, Sihom Village, Laung Prabang Road,

Vientiane, Lao PDR



Malaysian Association of ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs

Syed Nabil Aljeffri


Deborah Melissa Bottreau


Mohd Faddli B Atan

Secretary General



Myanmar Young Entrepreneurs Association

Wai Phyo


Aung Soe Tha

Vice President

Thaung Su  Nyein

Vice President

MYEA Office

No 29, Min Yae Kyaw Swar Street, Lan Ma Daw Township, Yangon, Myanmar.

Phone: (+95-01) 230 1573, 2301867

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Philippine Young Entrepreneurs Association

Rommel Gerodias


Mark Augustine Rivera

Vice President

Raymound Joshua Ta

Secretary General



SBF-led Young Business Leaders Alliance

Douglas Foo

Exco Member


Exco Member

Susan Chong

Exco Member

Singapore Business Federation (SBF)

1 Hoe Chiang Rd, Singapore 089315



Young Entrepreneurs of Chamber of Commerce  

Rutt Pongsurapipat

YEC Member

Saran  Monaraks

YEC Member

Kachaphol  Harinsuit

YEC Member

Young Entrepreneurs of Chamber of Commerce (YEC)

Thai Chamber of Commerce

150/2 Rajbopit Road, Pranakhorn

Bangkok 10200




Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs' Association (VYEA)

Bui Van Quan


Nguyen Thu Phong

Vice Chairman

Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs' Association (VYEA)

64 Ba Trieu str., Hoan Kiem Dist., Hanoi, Vietnam.


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