In the above photo: Ceremonial handover of the ASEAN SME ACADEMY book, “Lessons from the ASEAN SME Academy,” from United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim to DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez. In photo are PTTC Executive Director Nestor P. Palabyab (6th from the left), Philippines Senior Representative of the US-ABC Elizabeth Magsaysay-Crĕbassa (7th from the left), representatives from DTI regions and Negosyo Centers, and ASEAN SME Academy facilitators.

One of the highlights during the US-ABC SME Workshop held at the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) held on June 27, 2018 was the formal turnover to PTTC as the first country administrator of the ASEAN SME ACADEMY. The ceremonial turnover led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez and the United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim as part of the celebration of the International SME Day encourages MSMEs to engage in an online training platform to digitize business in the country.

The DTI Secretary emphasized the importance of empowering MSMEs and increased connectivity through digitalization to build capacity and engender innovation by connecting to overseas market, compete worldwide, and be connected to regional and global value chains.

“We already have mentoring programs; we just need to take them online so they can train more MSMEs. We want to give them access to mentoring 24/7,” said DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.

PTTC as the Academy’s new administrator is committed to provide the best training support to the Philippines’ MSMEs and to the ASEAN SME community through networks of supportive partners in the Philippines’ NEGOSYO Centers; expanding its best practices to the rest of the ASEAN regions.

PTTC Executive Director Nestor P. Palabyab said “Everybody here attending today’s event is either a provider of learning, a learner or both. The PTTC as the home of the ASEAN SME Academy is building a community where everyone may contribute to enable more capable SMEs to meet the challenge of the ever changing, complex and more competitive environment.”

The DTI and PTTC are optimistic that the Academy is in a greater position to uplift and advance the capacity of MSMEs to become smarter entrepreneurs with the ability to compete.

Also present to witness the turnover were the distinguished guests Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President Alegria S. Limjoco, Philippines Senior Representative of the US-ABC Elizabeth Magsaysay-Crĕbassa, General Manager of Cisco Systems Singapore & Philippines Mr. Surendran Vangadasalma.

There was a livestreaming of the entire activity to selected DTI regional offices and Negosyo Centers. The same is available for viewing at


Date of Release: 9 July 2018