To boost the entry and foothold of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in regional and global markets, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) enlivens the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Boracay Action Agenda at the conference dubbed as Slingshot MNL.
“Through endeavours like our first edition of Slingshot MNL we equip MSMEs, such as startups, for them to successfully expand and benefit in the global value chain. In doing this, we do not only allow them to fully take advantage of market prospects but also drive economic growth,” DTI Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said.
Domingo noted that these businesses can further contribute to the economic growth of the Philippines and Asia-Pacific region. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) account for 97 percent of all enterprises in APEC economies, and over 50 percent of workforce. These enterprises contribute between 20 to 50 percent of gross national product (GDP) in these economies. Currently, SMEs account for about 35 percent of direct exports in the region.
“With the appropriate intervention, MSMEs can develop their full potential to innovate, expand and strengthen their position in regional and global markets, and take part in pursuing inclusive growth,” Domingo said.
Domingo noted that APEC encourages and empowers SMEs to engage in trade by building management capability, entrepreneurship, and innovation; improving SME’s access to financing; and creating a healthy business environment for these enterprises to succeed by improving market access and pushing forward the process of internationalization.
With this approach, APEC has piloted a number of initiatives such as setting up of an innovation center for SMEs, providing access to mentorship through the start-up accelerator initiative, and helping startups secure funding through the participation in international summits.
“In opening doors to APEC economies, cooperating with international organizations and forums, as well as providing a platform to exchange ideas, knowledge, and plans that provide importance on MSMEs, we can work on ensuring that progress is inclusive,” Domingo said.
Trade Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo, Jr. said that in achieving this goal, DTI envisions MSMEs, like startups, prospering from the various business opportunities in APEC economies.
“We believe that organizing Slingshot MNL is one of the ways wherein we can help achieve inclusive growth in the Philippines,” Manalo added.
Slingshot MNL intends to make stakeholders of the country’s startup ecosystem understand how the startup business model can drive economies in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as establish ties with forward-looking investors. It intends to gather 1000 stakeholders.
Aside from the plenary sessions, Slingshot MNL 2015 features workshops, a pitching competition, and an exhibition of around 116 local startup companies.
The conference also aims to present the most promising startups in the Pacific Rim and top accelerators and incubators from the startup scene in America and Asia. Speakers during the main conference include top global figures like Nicholas Shea, founder of Start Up Chile; Hugh Mason, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of JFDI; Michael Brown, regional general manager of UBER; Maria Ressa, founder and CEO of Rappler; En Lee, Asia Pacific head of LGT Venture Philanthrophy; John Fitzpatrick, venture capital and startup ecosystem business development manager of APAC Amazon Web Service; and Richard Dasher, director of US-Asia Technology Management Center Stanford University. (END)