US-ABC Empowers Indonesian SMEs' Digital Potential to Reach Global Success through SME Workshop in Semarang

(Semarang) – The US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs of Indonesia and the Ministry of Trade of Indonesia organized a capacity-building program for Indonesian SMEs at the Hotel Tentrem, Semarang on Saturday, August 19, 2023. The in-person workshop was attended by more than 300 Indonesian entrepreneurs from various sectors and sizes. This workshop is part of the 2023 SME Workshop Series: Building Resiliency for ASEAN SMEs, and this is the 9th workshop conducted in Indonesia since 2014. This workshop was also a sideline event to the 2023 Business Mission to 55th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting and supported by USABC member companies: Visa, SAP, and FedEx Express.

The workshop was officially opened with remarks from Mr. Mario Masaya, Senior Director for Digital Policy, USABC. It was then followed by opening remarks from Mr. Arsjad Rasjid, Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), Mrs. Nita Yudi, Chairwoman of the Indonesian Businesswoman Association (IWAPI), and Mr. Sumarno, S. E., M. M., Regional Secretary of Central Java Province.

“This workshop is considered special; it is a sideline to our regular engagement with the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM), which is the place where our SME Program was first requested by Ibu Menteri Mari Elka Pangestu in 2011 and we responded by initiating the first workshop in 2012,” said Mr. Mario Masaya. “Considering both Indonesia and ASEAN’s roles in the digital economy, we are committed to stand by ready as a partner and resource to unlock SMEs' digital potentials.”

During the workshop, there was a panel discussion with Mrs. Ir. Siti Azizah, MBA, Deputy of Entrepreneurship from the Ministry of Cooperatives and SME which discussed issues surrounding SMEs, digitalization, and government policy in the panel discussion session. The panel also consisted of Ms. Alisha Sulisto, Head of Government Engagement, Regional Southeast Asia, Visa and Mr. Andreas Diantoro, Managing Director for SAP Indonesia who shared about their best practices.

In the next session, the workshop featured Mr. Delta Purna Widyangga, Chief Executive Officer of Qiscus and representative from KADIN, and Mrs. Rinawati Prihatiningsih, Deputy Chair of Manpower, Research, and Development, IWAPI as a representative from the Indonesian business and entrepreneur community in a dialogue session to share various insights on the post-pandemic opportunities and challenges for SMEs, women’s role in economy and entrepreneurship, as well as initiatives such as KADIN’s Wiki Entrepreneur and ASEAN SME Academy platform.

After the lunch break, each company showcased examples of solutions for Indonesian SMEs to enhance their global competitiveness. The session was filled by ​ Ms. Alisha Sulisto, Head of Government Engagement, Regional Southeast Asia, Visa and Mr. Yosua Hans Setiawan, CEO of Segari, Mr. Andreas Diantoro, Managing Director of SAP Indonesia, and FedEx Express’ representatives: Mr. Garrick Thompson (Managing Director for Indonesia), Mr. Nicolaus Wicito Adiputra (Senior Manager for Sales Department Indonesia), and Mrs. Mardyah Sofian (Senior Manager for Operations Indonesia) alongside Mr. Bier Budy Kismulyanto, Head of Semarang Customs Office. Topics like digital payment, digital tools and sustainability, and export processes for SMEs were discussed during the showcases.

Mr. Riko Abdurrahman, President Director of Visa Indonesia stated, “Visa has been fully supportive of government endeavors in upscaling SMEs and growing the ecosystems towards better financial inclusion. Our commitment especially in women empowerment and financial-digital literacy of small and micro businesses will continue to be a priority, and we believe that continued synergies with all stakeholders are paramount to achieve the shared mission.”

Mr. Andreas Diantoro, Managing Director of SAP Indonesia said, "Digital transformation stands as a vital enabler for companies to survive and thrive. Based on an SAP study, 86% of Indonesian SMEs recognises the urgency of upskilling for digital transformation, while 72% agrees that collaboration with a trusted partner becomes pivotal. Aligning with the Indonesian government's priority for SME digital transformation, cloud technology and AI will empower SMEs for enduring innovation, give them a competitive edge, ensure sustainable success and keep them future proof in a dynamic market."

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 SMEs 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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