About Us

The APEC-Canada Growing Business Partnership seeks to build the potential of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) and aspiring entrepreneurs in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) developing economies to foster sustainable inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

Four Focus Areas

The APEC-Canada Growing Business Partnership focuses on addressing the opportunities and challenges MSMEs face, and correspond with the strategic priorities outlined by the APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group plan for 2017 to 2020.

Technology and Innovation

Encouraging MSMEs to leverage innovations and new technologies as part of their business strategy and plan, especially in the potential of tech-based incubators/accelerators, social media platforms, and instant communications tools to leapfrog traditional business bottlenecks faced by entrepreneurs

Market Access

Reducing the barriers to entry into both domestic and international markets through establishing an enabling regulatory and policy environment, including facilitating access to market information

Human Capital

Strengthening human capital through education, training and information dissemination, with a particular focus on programs for women and youth

Social Entrepreneurship

Facilitating and supporting the role that MSMEs can play in engaging in entrepreneurial activities with a social goal


Four Focus Economies

Our focus economies are diverse, yet similarly in the process of developing innovative policies to enhance opportunities for their young and growing populations.


Indonesia has one of the largest and most diverse populations in the world. It is the largest economy in Southeast Asia, with a steadily increasing GDP. According to the Indonesian government’s current 5-year plan (2015-2020), infrastructure development and improving education and healthcare are the major priorities. There are approximately 700,000 MSMEs in the country, and women own 51% of small enterprises and 34% of medium-sized enterprises. Indonesia has a sizable youth population with 64.3 million (26% of the population) between the ages of 18-25.


Of Peru’s total population of 30.38 million, 79% live in urban centers and MSMEs comprise 99.6% of all businesses and produce 47% of the country’s GDP. Economic momentum has slowed down since 2013, however the Peruvian government has taken an initiative towards attracting private investment such as developing fiscal and monetary policies favorable to private sector growth. These policies are intended to reach out to entrepreneurs and stimulate the start-up ecosystem of the country. For example, in 2013 the Government implemented the “Start Up Peru” initiative that aims to provide support to 200 startups over the next five years by way of seed capital and other services.


The Philippines is a steadily growing economy, with GDP driven by consumption and investment in addition to a strong remittance economy ($23.4 billion in 2014) that acts as a buffer against shocks and offers a stable support for growth. 90% of all enterprises (roughly 900,000) are MSMES. The entrepreneurship climate of the Philippines is very promising, however most entrepreneurs are often driven by necessity given the high unemployment rates and few job opportunities in the country.

Despite this, the country is benefiting from technological boosts and unique characteristics to drive innovation. The Philippines has 41.7 million active internet users, and 35.7 million access the internet on their mobile phones. Additionally, the large English-speaking population helps reduce the localization challenges that global tech companies face, attracting more people and helping Filipino entrepreneurs with communicating with the global business community. These factors explain why initiatives such as Facebook’s Internet.org (a global partnership dedicated to improving Internet access worldwide) are being piloted in the country.


Vietnam has made significant political and economic changes in the past few decades that have contributed to the growth of MSMEs and the startup ecosystem. At a macro-level, economics shifts have accelerated the steady privatization of state-owned businesses. The government has also introduced several pro-MSME policies, including the passing of the 2000 Enterprise Law. This move prompted over 500,000 MSMEs to register themselves as official businesses, making them recipients of government regulation and aid.

As a result, MSMEs contribute 46% of Vietnam’s GDP, and an estimated 89-99% of all registered enterprises are MSMEs. The youth population of Vietnam and their access to mobile technology is a driving force behind these changes. 64.3 million people (26% of the population) are between the ages of 18-25, and the country has roughly 43.7 million active internet users and 149.2 million mobile subscribers.

“‎Through its new feminist vision to international assistance, Canada will support micro, small and medium enterprises in the APEC region. This will help to create jobs, generate income for families and ultimately promote growth that works for everyone.”

- Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie