The Philippines recently co-hosted with Chinese Taipei the “APEC Policy Dialogue on MSME Marketplace & O2O Forum” targeted at promoting the application of online-tooffline (O2O) business models and encouraging MSMEs to invest in innovation.

 USec ZCM Chinese Taipei
 DTI Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya (center), DTI Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Director Jerry Clavesillas (left), Chinese Taipei Ministry of Economic Affairs Small and Medium Enterprise Administration Deputy Director General Pei-Ti Hu. 

Since the inception of APEC O2O initiative in 2015, the Forum has showcased more than 200 best practices in the Asia-Pacific region.

For the Philippines, three innovative startups have won the O2O best practice awards namely: Medifi, revolutionizing healthcare with cloud based health profile management, video consultations, and medical imaging support; SnipePH, your one-stop solutions partner for employment engagement and business needs, and; recently we have BeamAndGo, specializing in consumer-related E-Commerce products and the first in the Philippines to offer a digital SMS gifting solution delivered as a text message.

“Technological innovations have the capacity to reduce costs, allowing ease of doing business which enables SMEs to access resources they need to grow and expand their business and accelerate the on-boarding of currently excluded markets into the global economy.” DTI Regional Operations Group (ROG) Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), ecommerce helps local businesses access global value chains. It enables them to have a presence in foreign markets through exports and imports. This process leads to higher productivity because of more efficient use of technology, heightened competition, and greater consumer choice; and creates jobs as firms start to expand.

The Asia-Pacific region has the largest market share in the digital economy, accounting for 33% of total market scale but only a few SMEs in APEC are currently taking full advantage of new digital opportunities.

The role of private and public sector in supporting more SMEs to turn these opportunities into business will be a key driving force for economic growth.

“Now more than ever, it is becoming increasingly important to call for closer cooperation and stronger collaboration as we work towards helping SMEs become our partners in promoting inclusive growth. And we do so by making them competitive and resilient as they embrace the opportunities and challenges globalization brings.” Maglaya said.

Undersecretary Maglaya also highlighted the financial technology (FinTech) as one of the digital transformations in the MSME growth and development. For one, there is Acudeen Technologies, an online facility that provides accessible financing to underbanked SMEs in the Philippines by letting them sell their receivables from multinationals and blue chip companies to Acudeen’s Financing Marketplace. Within its first 7 months of launching, Acudeen has successfully transacted over 50M PHP worth of receivables with 0% default and only 1.5% repayment delay rate out of over 1000 transactions.

More than 80 stakeholders including Google, Cerebra Technologies Co. Ltd., Acudeen Technologies, and other participants from APEC economies attended the forum and participated in the discussion focusing on the current digital opportunities and challenges of MSMEs in the globalization.

Among the eight (8) innovative start-ups and MSMEs from seven economies who shared their experience of O2O innovation and technology, Markedshot from Singapore was recognized as the top performer and given the “APEC SME O2O Best Practice” award with qualification to attend the “2018 APEC O2O Summit” in Taipei. BeamandGo, the PH tech startup who won in the last O2O Forum in Viet Nam will likewise join Markshot at the 2018 APEC O2O Summit.

The Philippines, together with Chinese Taipei, continue their efforts to enhance MSMEs’ digital competitiveness and resilience toward quality growth through the APEC O2O Initiative.