Action Plan Workshop on “Enhancing Digital Economy Participation for ASEAN Women MSME"

05 May 2023

Seoul, March 14-15 2023 - The Action Plan Workshop, which was organized by the Asia Pacific Women’s Information Center (APWINC) in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on March 14 and 15, mobilized delegates from ASEAN member states to discuss and develop action plans for the ASEAN-Korean Cooperation Project on “Enhancing Digital Economy Participation for ASEAN Women Micro-, Small-, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), also known as the “IDEAS Project”.

The workshop aimed to establish the Action Plans for each implementing institution and local consultant of the ASEAN-Korea Cooperation Project. These plans will serve as a milestone for their project implementation until 2026, and foster stronger relationships to jointly address ways to cooperate to accelerate the participation of ASEAN women in the digital economy.

A total of 49 stakeholders were invited for this workshop, including 30 delegates from 14 local implementing institutions of ASEAN Member States (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), 10 local consultants, and representatives from ASEAN-Korea Cooperation Fund and the ASEAN Secretariat.

In particular, the Workshop provided a close networking session for the delegates of implementing institutions and local consultants of each country to facilitate the dialogue and strengthen national cooperation as they work towards enhancing digital participation for ASEAN women-owned MSMEs of their own country.

“The Action Plan was a great opportunity for me to solidify the fundamental objectives of the project and engage in peer learning,” said one of the participants of the Workshop. “I expect that expanding the capacity of ASEAN MSMEs owned by women entrepreneurs to participate in the digital economy will ultimately help ASEAN states’ economic progress,” she added.  

At the opening ceremony, Dr. Jungin Jo, the executive director of APWINC, stated, “The Covid-19 pandemic impinged on ASEAN women entrepreneurs but also increased the opportunity for online business participation due to higher digital accessibility. Yet, women entrepreneurs still face societal barriers,”. Furthermore, she stressed that, “The ASEAN-Korea Cooperation Project can provide a growth engine to promote the digital competitiveness of ASEAN women entrepreneurs who run small and medium businesses and contribute to strengthening ASEAN e-Business capacity,”. She also urged the delegates’ active participation, stating that, “Investing for women is the wisest investment, and if women become the main players, the entire country may change.”

Meanwhile, the APWINC will mobilize 200 potential e-Business trainers and organize a ‘Training of Trainers (ToT)’ in July in Seoul, Republic of Korea, with assistance from the implementing institutions.

The IDEAs Project, also known as the “Enhancing Digital Economy Participation for ASEAN Women Micro-, Small-, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Project,” is a five-year project (2022-2026), funded by the ASEAN-Korea Cooperation Fund (AKCF), and implemented by APWINC, a UNESCO Chair in Communication Technology for Women. The project aims to build the e-business capacity of ASEAN women entrepreneurs and benefit 14 local implementing institutions, 255 local e-business experts, and 4,002 female MSMEs in ASEAN countries.