BORACAY, THE PHILIPPINES – On November 28 and 29, the Global Innovation Forum participated in a two-day forum on micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Boracay, co-hosted by Chinese Taipei and the Philippines, during Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)’s fifth Online-to-Offline (O2O) workshop this year.

Undersecretary of Regional Operations of the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines, Zenaida Cuison-Maglaya noted, “We’re here for a policy dialogue but we can consider ourselves successful if we can translate today’s advice into tangible outcomes that will benefit MSMEs by helping connect them from offline to online.”

GIF Deputy Director Kaveri Marathe moderated a lively panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges for APEC’s MSMEs to go global. The panel featured experts on creating an enabling environment for small businesses, including Francis Lopez, President of the Intercommerce Network Services of The Philippines; Zaky Moh, Senior Director of the Business Development and Entrepreneurship Division of SME Corporation Malaysia; Olivier Letant, Head of Strategy and Analysis for Axiata Malaysia; Ellis Wang, former Director at Google; Jim Chang, Representative of Director, Taiwan Internet and E-Commerce Association; and Jaime Garchitorena, President of the Credit Information Bureau.

The panelists highlighted the importance of encouraging formal creditors to lend to MSMEs, training MSMEs to use e-commerce platforms, bridging the fragmentation of Southeast Asian markets, and building out digital infrastructure.

Other panels discussed the readiness of e-commerce marketplace players for cross-border e-commerce and the potential of O2O to unleash better person-to-person connectivity.

“We appreciate having 11 economies endorsed for this O2O initiative. So far five serial events have taken place on both sides of the Pacific, with more than 60 best practices identified and more than 600 stakeholders participating,” said Wen-Ling Su, Deputy Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration of the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Chinese Taipei.

The event also held a startup pitch-style presentation with 13 innovative startups from across 7 APEC economies, judged by a team chaired by Marathe. One standout startup, SnipePH of the Philippines, was awarded a trip to Chinese Taipei for next year’s annual O2O forum for successfully employing online tools to drive offline consumer traffic.

For more information contact: Kaveri Marathe, Deputy Director, Global Innovation Forum, Tel: (202) 464-2035, kaveri@globalinnovationforum.com

 

ABOUT THE GLOBAL INNOVATION FORUM

The Global Innovation Forum is a nonprofit startup that connects entrepreneur, small business, development, and university communities with policymakers and select corporations to explore the opportunities and challenges of engaging in the global marketplace.  GIF serves as a hub for startup, university and development communities around the world to communicate with officials and corporations, discover public and private resources to help them succeed, and improve the public policy landscape to enable global innovation. GIF is a project of the 501(c)(3) National Foreign Trade Council Foundation.