US-ABC Conducts Enhancing Digital Trade Workshop for Cambodian SMEs on Sidelines of 54th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting

(September 16, 2022) – The US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) in partnership with the Cambodia Ministry of Commerce conducted an SME-oriented capacity building event in Cambodia on the sidelines of the 54th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting. This event was the first hybrid SME workshop after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event also included the participation of the Cambodia Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MISTI), and the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce as additional organizing partners. Themed “Enhancing Digital Trade for Cambodian SMEs,” the workshop featured a policy dialogue and digital skills training from public and private sector representatives. Overall there were 145 Cambodian SMEs joined the event.

The workshop featured Mrs. Serei Borapich, Under Secretary of State of the Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Chhea Layhy, Director of Department of Small and Medium Enterprises from the General Department of Small, Medium Enterprises and Handicrafts, MISTI, Ms. Ivana Tranchini, Visa Country Manager for Cambodia, Mr. Kar Liang Ting, Digital Skills Enablement Program Manager, AWS, and Mr. Charly Gordon, Global Policy Lead, International Chamber of Commerce for the policy dialogue session. The session was moderated by Mr. Bun Sambath, Secretary General of Young Entrepreneurs Association Cambodia.

“We appreciate the robust efforts of the Cambodian Government as well as the private sector to support SMEs in Cambodia. We are looking forward to work together with the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology, and Innovation and stand ready to give necessary support where needed. We very much appreciate their insights on how to promote entrepreneurship through mentorship and training, digital literacy, as well as success stories from Cambodia SMEs,” said Ambassador Michael Michalak.

“The Ministry of Commerce is stand by ready to support the small businesses, especially in digital sphere. As of now, Cambodia have an exponential growth in e-commerce value, internet user, digital transaction, to the fundamentals like digital infrastructure,” said Ms. Serei Borapich, Under Secretary of State of Cambodia Ministry of Commerce. “We look forward to aligning and fostering a collaborative partnership between the private and public sectors to accelerate the growth of Cambodia’s digital economy through small, medium-sized enterprises that will subsequently expand their GVCs participation and shifting Cambodia toward digitalization for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Ms. Ivana Tranchini, Visa Country Manager for Cambodia, said “At Visa, we’re focused on introducing a range of locally designed programs and Visa Digital Solutions to enable SMEs to drive efficiency and sales through acceptance of digital payments, building online businesses and developing promotional programs. One such solution is Visa’s Tap to Phone, which transforms a smartphone into an acceptance device, allowing small businesses to start accepting digital payments, speeding up payment and improving the checkout experience. We encourage entrepreneurs to access the resources available at Visa’s Practical Business Skills platform – one of the many educational initiatives Visa is driving to deliver inclusive and sustainable growth around the world.”

This was followed by a showcase session from US-ABC member companies represented by Ms. Daline Ny, Head of Merchant, Sales, and Solutions of Visa Cambodia, Mr. Kar Liang Ting, Digital Skills Enablement Program Manager, AWS, Mr. Dennis Laurentius, International Growth Consultant – South East Asia (SEA) of Google. Their presentations focused heavily on digital skills training. The session also featured company insights on initiatives to support Cambodian SMEs to excel in digital trade. This Cambodia SME program was supported by Visa, AWS, and Google.

“Accelerating internet adoption and rapid growth of the online economy in ASEAN offers tremendous potential for export-ready small businesses, and continues to boost the recovery and growth of the region’s economies. At Google, we are committed to supporting SMEs in their digital transformation journeys. Our skilling programs and tools such as Market Finder and Export Partner Hub enable businesses to capture new opportunities overseas, and help grow inclusive digital economies in ASEAN and beyond”, said Mr. Dennis Laurentius during his session.

The ongoing capacity-building initiatives in the ASEAN Member States (AMS) have been a key pillar of the US-ABC since 2011 in response to the request by ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM). The aim of the SME program is to support ASEAN small businesses in leveraging technology and the intra-global consumer and supply base. In addition to the training activities, the ASEAN SME Academy (the Academy) - free online learning platform for SMEs was created and co-administered with the Philippines Department Trade and Industry (DTI) and Philippine Trade Training Centre (PTTC) on behalf of the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME).


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About US-ASEAN Business Council

Since 1984, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for U.S. corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership of nearly 170 companies generates almost US$7 trillion in revenue and employs more than 14.5 million people.  Today our members include the largest U.S. companies conducting business in ASEAN and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for more than 100 years. The Council has nine offices around the globe, in Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; Singapore; and Yangon, Myanmar.


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