Kick-off Workshop of the R&D team on "Enhancing Digital Economy Participation for ASEAN Women Micro-, Small-, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)"

02 Jun 2022

SEOUL/ONLINE 20 May 2022 - On May 20th (Fri), 2022, the Asia Pacific Women’s Information Network Center (APWINC), appointed as the UNESCO Chair in Communication Technology for Women, successfully held the ‘Kick-off Workshop’ of the R&D team on "Enhancing Digital Economy Participation for ASEAN Women Micro-, Small-, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)" project (2022 – 2026) through a virtual conference.

The 5-year project is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea (ROK) through the ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund (AKCF). The project will benefit 14 local implementing institutions, 10 local consultants, 200 local trainers, 45 mentors, and 4,002 female MSMEs in ASEAN. ASEAN women entrepreneurs would build capacity for using ICTs and online business platforms through the project.

The APWINC initiated the project in 2022 and held the first Steering Committee meeting in March( The R&D team was launched in May with 12 experts in the fields of digital economy and e-Business, consisting of 10 local consultants selected from each ASEAN country and 2 Korean consultants.

A total of 22 participants attended the Kick-Off Workshop including consultants from 11 countries – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Republic of Korea - as well as representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN-Korea Programme Management Team (AKPMT) of AKCF.

The R&D team will develop training courses to revitalize the e-business in ASEAN by identifying the current status and needs of the digital economy and e-business fields of ASEAN countries. In addition, the team will promote joint research to find solutions that can improve the participation of ASEAN women in the digital economy. Based on the preliminary research result, the e-Business Training Toolkit will be developed by the end of this year.

The conference began with opening remarks made by Mr. Jaehwan Kwon, team leader and representative of AKPMT, and he expressed his belief that this project reflects the commitments made by both ASEAN and the Republic of Korea to achieve women empowerment, especially in the field of MSMEs by helping them make use of and benefit from the digital economy and e-commerce. He concluded his welcoming remark by emphasizing the hope of cultivating a sense of community building between ASEAN - Korea and the AKPMT’s support for a successful implementation of this project.

 In the second welcoming remark, Dr. Jungin Jo, the executive director of the APWINC, emphasized strong hopes for achieving the key objectives of this project, (1) to enhance ASEAN MSMEs empowerment based on practical digital business skills for ASEAN women, (2) to help revitalize the ASEAN economy, and (3) to strengthen the ties of friendship between South Korea and ASEAN. She concluded her remark by expressing her hope for in-depth collaboration and proactive engagement from all stakeholders.

In addition, the APWINC plans to hold the first Project Working Committee meeting this September, to discuss and determine the detailed update of the project among the R&D team and implementing institutions of projects, and have a 'Training Toolkit Development Workshop' in one of the ASEAN countries in November 2022.