ASEAN MSMEs in a COVID-19 World: Lessons from ERIA MSMEs Talks 6-10
Many different stakeholders have an important role to play to build back better for the ASEAN post-pandemic recovery, including the business sector and MSMEs. With its dynamism, a young population, and a growing middle class, the ASEAN region is well positioned to recover quickly. As emerged during the last five episodes (6–10) of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) webinar series ‘ASEAN MSMEs in a COVID-19 World’, some of the important aspects to focus on during the recovery include (i) upskilling and reskilling of MSME workers and entrepreneurs to enable them to compete and thrive in the post-pandemic economy; (ii) focusing on micro and less productive firms, by providing better access to critical enabling factors such as skills, finance, and markets; (iii) encouraging more girls and women to start careers in technology and the digital economy, including starting their own businesses in this field; (iv) exploring the new services offered by financial technologies (fintech) as a way to provide better services for ASEAN MSMEs, in particular to ‘unbanked’ firms; and (v) understanding and supporting the emergence of innovation ecosystems and start-ups as the key hotspots that can drive the recovery.
This second report on the ERIA webinar series ‘ASEAN MSMEs in a COVID-19 World – Innovation and Skills for the Post-Pandemic Recovery’ summarises the key messages that emerged during the last five episodes (6–10) of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) MSME Talks, a series of webinars designed to discuss key issues, challenges, and opportunities for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) world, with a diverse group of stakeholders – including entrepreneurs, policymakers, academics, and experts from the region. This report details some of the key issues for the development of more sustainable and inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystems during the post-pandemic economic recovery in ASEAN.