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ECONOMY

APEC 2017: Workshop on facilitating market access for women-led MSMEs through E-commerce

Updated at Thursday, 05 Oct 2017, 16:04
The Hanoitimes - In sidelines of the 2017 Asian – Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Ministry of Industry & Trade and APEC Secretariat have jointly held the APEC workshop facilitating market access for women-led micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through E-commerce from October 4 – 5 in Hanoi.
The objective of this workshop is to raise awareness and knowledge on e-commerce for women-led MSMEs; sharing experiences and best practices on e-commerce for MSMEs in general, and women-led MSMEs in particular, especially best practices from the perspectives of the government and enterprises; thus, recommendations and ideas from the workshop will be submitted to the APEC’s SMEs Working Group (SMEWG) and the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE), with a view to create favorable conditions for women-led MSMEs access market through e-commerce.
 
Director General of Multilateral Trade Policy Department, Ministry of Industry & Trade Luong Hoang Thai gave an opening speech.
Director General of Multilateral Trade Policy Department, Ministry of Industry & Trade Luong Hoang Thai gave an opening speech.
Attending the workshop are representative of the government of APEC’s economic members; experts and guest speakers in fields of Intellectual property, finance, enterprises, and representatives of  related associations from APEC’s economic members.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Director General of Multilateral Trade Policy Department, Ministry of Industry & Trade Luong Hoang Thai said, in the current context, woman plays more and more important role in economic growth and social stability. Currently, there are 600 million women in the workforce, and women-led MSMEs have contributed significantly in creating jobs, improving income, reducing poverty. Despite the increase effort in empowering woman in the economy, business opportunities for women-led MSMEs are hard to come by, due to the lack of knowledge, experience, finance, market information, business opportunities, human resources, skills and competitiveness with bigger enterprises. 
 
Representatives and speakers at the Workshop.
Representatives and speakers at the Workshop.
Lasting in 02 days, the workshop is divided into 5 sessions and one field trip, including: (1) What does the e-commerce landscape look like for women-led MSMEs? In this session, speakers talked about who is using e-commerce, what works and what does not work, and what are the results telling? In general, technology and innovations such as e-commerce make a dramatic difference to MSME growth and health; (2) What are the hurdles that women-led MSMEs are facing in accessing markets in the APEC region and how is e-commerce supporting or preventing their access? Designed as a fire-side chat session, speakers from the public sector of the women-led MSMEs and start-ups were invited to share their experiences in accessing markets and the opportunities and challenges of using e-commerce; (3) What can be done to ensure that women have the market access they need to grow their businesses the way they want to. What is the role of government in facilitating inclusive access to markets: in this session, APEC economies shared what their government are doing to support women’s access to markets and the growth of e-commerce platforms that are inclusive and secure; (4) New tools of change: E-commerce efficient tools that are disrupting the commerce ecology and how these tools can dramatically impact the growth potential and numbers of women-led MSMEs participating actively the APEC market. Hear from the technology leaders that are focusing their business strategies on getting MSMEs to market: In this session, speakers from reputable companies were invited to share with concrete experiences on how to take advantages of well-known internet tools (such as social networks, mobile, etc.,) to facilitate market access for MSMEs; (5) APEC Initiatives on e-commerce and MSMEs’ integration into global value chains and group breakout discussion: In this session, a presentation on APEC initiatives on e-commerce and MSMEs integration into global value chains were served as a foundation for in-depth group breakout discussion on two questions. Firstly, What individual government should do in terms of e-commerce to facilitate market access for MSMEs in general, women-led MSMEs in particular? Secondly, What APEC should and can do in the area of e-commerce to facilitate market access for MSMEs in general, women-led MSMEs in particular? 

Afterwards, the organizing board organized a field trip to Quang Vinh – a women-led SMEs in Bat Trang village to learn more about their company, and how e-commerce supports their business.

At present, women-led MSMEs are facing difficulties with regard to treatment of gender inequality in man – dominated business environment. However, the presence of e-comemrce will helps to women-led MSMEs to solves these mentioned issues, expanding business network and participate in the global value chains. In overall, speakers concluded that women-led MSMEs are still getting used to e-commerce and lack of necessary skills to compete and flourish. 

In recent times, APEC’s economic members are committed to facilitate the participation of women in business, with a view for economic development. Many countries, including Vietnam have implemented supporting programs for women-led MSMEs in e-commerce, which shows the importance of e-commerce in digital economy, as well as the close relationship between e-commerce and overall growth. 
Ngoc Thuy
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