The COVID-19 pandemic has posed an existential threat to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region and across the world. As the road to recovery from the effects of COVID-19 stretches onward, global cooperation will be needed to rebuild and create sustainable opportunities for growth and prosperity. One of the priorities moving forward must be to alleviate the extraordinary burden placed upon MSMEs, which are navigating uncharted territory as the global health crisis continues to impact economic stability and job security.   

MSMEs are facing a number of new and existing challenges that are intensified by the pandemic. The newest challenge is digital transformation and the sudden shift to the digital economy. MSMEs have been pushed to survive on online platforms and markets, given restrictions on movement and in-person business. However, many other issues that MSMEs are facing stem from before the pandemic. These include access to financing, usage of MSME support services, and efforts to increase market access. 

Recognizing the persistence of these issues, this toolkit has collated research and project implementation experience from the APEC-Canada Growing Business Partnership in order to illustrate challenges that MSMEs face, and highlight policy solutions for MSME capacity building moving forward, during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.


This toolkit will draw upon research in Indonesia, Peru, the Philippines, Vietnam and across the APEC region with policy recommendations and tools on various areas of MSME capacity building, to address issues prior to and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The policy recommendations and tools featured in this toolkit are based upon the Partnership’s research studies, in-economy programming, and mentorship program for women entrepreneurs. 

Policy Sections

This toolkit includes six sections on specific thematic areas in MSME capacity building: 

  1. Promoting Inclusive Post-Pandemic Growth  

  1. Supporting Women and Youth Entrepreneurs 

  1. Aiding MSMEs’ Digital Transformation 

  1. Securing MSMEs’ Access to Financing 

  1. Ensuring Access to MSME Support 

  1. Encouraging Broader Market Access 


This toolkit has been developed by experts from Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, as well as partner organizations listed below: 

Block 71/Innovation Factory - Context: Indonesia

Block 71/Innovation Factory - Context: Indonesia


Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

Cherie Blair Foundation for Women - Supporting Women and Youth Entrepreneurs

 Cherie Blair Foundation for Women - Supporting Women and Youth Entrepreneurs   

Danang Institute for Socio-Economic Development – Context: Vietnam

Kai Analytics

Kai Analytics – Aiding MSMEs’ Digital Transformation 


KUNAN Peru - Context: Peru 

Map the Philippines – Context: The Philippines

Map the Philippines – Context: The Philippines 



Saved Modules

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