After 18 months of navigating the global pandemic, social distancing and periodic lockdowns are the new norms as vaccinations compete with emerging variants of COVID-19. This scenario is a stark contrast to the situation only 18 months ago, when the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented economic and social challenges to economies around the world.
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) have experienced the brunt of the pandemic's impact, with businesses forced to close or drastically reduce their capacity. Government efforts toward inclusive, post-pandemic growth must prioritize MSMEs, which comprise 97 per cent of all businesses in the APEC region, and occupy a central role in their economies.
This policy brief will focus on how APEC economies can achieve a multi-pronged approach by discussing four thematic areas: digital entrepreneurship, MSME competitiveness and access to international markets, MSME growth and inclusive ecosystems, and innovation for micro-enterprises and startups. Drawing on Canadian best practices and on-the-ground research in Indonesia, Peru, the Philippines, and Vietnam through the APEC-Canada Growing Business Partnership, this policy brief highlights key actions and recommendations for the next stage of global recovery for MSMEs.
- Implement policies and programs for advancing inclusive growth for MSMEs that address multiple areas of MSME development in co-ordination with various stakeholders in the MSME ecosystem, including but not limited to government, business associations, and entrepreneurs.
- Prioritize upskilling and opportunities in digital entrepreneurship that can give entrepreneurs more capacity to upscale, innovate, and expand to international markets.
- Ensure the robust collection of disaggregated MSME data to better understand the varied and diverse landscape of MSMEs and entrepreneurs in APEC economies.
- Target MSME policies and supports to the specific needs of different businesses and entrepreneurs.
- Implement long-term strategies to advance the inclusion of marginalized entrepreneurs including women, youth, Indigenous peoples, and rural-based entrepreneurs.