Experts from multi-national companies in Ho Chi Minh City today met 65 entrepreneurs from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam to discuss ways these businesses can better integrate into the global supply chain and be more competitive, especially in the garment and footwear sectors. The US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs (Business Alliance) collaborated with ASEAN and Viet Nam's Agency for Enterprise Development (AED) in organising this event.
"Focused specifically on garment and footwear, participating ASEAN entrepreneurs will certainly gain the much needed skills and knowledge from the leading companies to meet the increasingly complex needs of today's consumers in the region," said Director of the Assistance Center for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in the South, AED, Mr. Nguyen Van Tuat.
While expanding and integrated regional and global economies have opened up new opportunities, they have intensified competition among enterprises and industries. Stronger economies have also produced prosperous and more sophisticated consumers who can increasingly demand products that have better quality, design, and safety as well as improved environmental sustainability and social equity in sourcing, production, consumption and disposal.
"We are thrilled to support the competitiveness of SMEs in South East Asia to join global supply chains. Through our collaborative efforts, we aim to help SMEs capture growth opportunities under the ASEAN Economic Community, and prepare for participation in the regional and global economy," said Shiumei Lin, Vice President for Public Affairs and Sustainability, UPS Asia Pacific; and Vice-Chair of the ASEAN Committee, US-ASEAN Business Council.
The Business Alliance's program focuses on providing information, training and mentoring services on best practices to participate in value chains. Through it, ASEAN SMEs are provided with the opportunity to participate in a three-step training and mentoring program that aims to foster and expand capabilities to access external markets and to integrate into global supply chains. In this event, entrepreneurs learned about supply chain readiness for SMEs, in particular, procurement policies, manufacturing good practices and supply-chain management standards and compliance in the apparel and footwear sectors.
Business Alliance is a partnership between the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Also supporting this event were the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), the Leather and Footwear Association of Vietnam (LEFASO), as well as American companies including UPS and Nike.