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.
This toolkit includes six sections on specific thematic areas in MSME capacity building:
Promoting Inclusive Post-Pandemic Growth
Supporting Women and Youth Entrepreneurs
Aiding MSMEs’ Digital Transformation
Securing MSMEs’ Access to Financing
Ensuring Access to MSME Support
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
Cherie Blair Foundation for Women - Supporting Women and Youth Entrepreneurs
Danang Institute for Socio-Economic Development – Context: Vietnam
Kai Analytics – Aiding MSMEs’ Digital Transformation
KUNAN Peru - Context: Peru
Map the Philippines – Context: The Philippines