With the theme “Building inclusive economies, building a better world”, the 2015 APEC Summit that’s currently hosted by the Philippines puts emphasis on sustainable and resilient businesses. This extends to cyberpreneurs, who stands to benefit from APEC’s renewed push for liberalizing service industries.
Gathering 21 member-economies from across borders of the Pacific Rim, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is where almost half of the world’s total trade happen. At first glance, it may seem that APEC is all about corporations, regulatory bodies, and economic ministries.
But the importance of MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) in the region cannot be discounted. As highlighted by APEC’s Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group, MSMEs comprise over 97 percent of all enterprises and employ more than half of the workforce in the region.
As many MSMEs move to the digital front, how can you benefit from APEC?
1. Join APEC start-up challenges
Started in 2013, the APEC Start-up Accelerator Initiative is on a mission to match tech start-ups with possible mentors and funding opportunities. It offers hands-on business consulting among start-ups engaged in key innovation areas (such as interactive learning). The initiative has since sponsored six Asia-Pacific start-ups to participate in competitions held in Silicon Valley, helping them garner not just awards but interest from venture capitalists as well.
2. Tap APEC-trained local talent
Since 2004, APEC has created “Digital Opportunity Centers” in developing countries to provide computer and I.T. skills training, especially among disadvantaged communities. In the Philippines, for example, there are several such centers across the country. Your next business partner or employee may have benefitted from such a center.
3. Learn best practices from APEC’s knowledge base
APEC regularly publishes case studies, white papers, and the like that can be easily downloaded from its website. It also has a one-stop shop that pools together information about the customs laws, taxation, and other trade regulations of its members. Apart from knowledge bases, it also hosts events for MSMEs, such as for capacity-building and business ethics.
As enabled by the Web, APEC’s main thrusts are gradually shifting from agro-industrial products to service-centered and technology-based businesses.
As enabled by the Web, APEC’s main thrusts are gradually shifting from agro-industrial products to service-centered and technology-based businesses. In the long run, your cyber business will directly get a boost from APEC’s promotion of international market readiness, compliance with quality standards, and borderless economic integration.