Asia SME Opportunities, Ideas and Small Business Organizations. Asian SME Organizations and APEC. In the APEC region, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) account for around 90 percent of all businesses and employ as much as 60 percent of the work force. At present, however, they generate only around 30 percent of exports. APEC’s Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG) therefore works to encourage the development of SMEs and build their capacity to engage in international trade.

First established in February 1995 as the Ad Hoc Policy Level Group on SMEs’ (PLGSME), the objective was to assist SMEs improve their competitiveness and to facilitate a more open trade and investment environment. In 2000, the group was renamed the SMEWG and granted permanent status. The SMEWG works towards the achievement of the Bogor Goals by fostering enabling business environments for SMEs to grow and develop into export-ready (internationalized) firms, through the sharing of information on best practice initiatives and conducting capacity building activities.

ASEAN, Association of South East Asian Nations - Entrepreneur-sme.asiaSME Developments in ASEAN. Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are integral to the economic development and growth of the ASEAN (South-East Asian) Member States as they largely outnumber large enterprises in both quantity of establishments and share of the labour force they employ. SMEs account for more than 96% of all enterprises and 50% to 85% of domestic employment.

The contribution of SMEs to GDP is between 30% and 53% and the contribution of SMEs to exports is between 19% and 31%. They are important in terms of income and employment generation, gender and youth empowerment through business participation, and their widespread presence in non-urban and poorer domestic regions. SMEs are the backbone of ASEAN and SME development is integral to achieve long-run and sustainable economic growth.

Please also visit our Asian Entrepreneurship Directory page for more information about Small Business Activities in this region.