VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN): A group of business owners have set up an organisation to unite their strengths to drive the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Laos.
A press conference to launch the Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion Association of the Lao PDR (Lao SME) took place in Vientiane on Wednesday (Feb 17).
The association has set up four main work plans for 2021. The first involves working with the Lao-Japan Microfinance Association and the Lao-Japan Human Resource Development Institute to help Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) members and entrepreneurs affected by Covid-19 and the effects of the ongoing recession in 2021.
The second component is to hold an interview programme titled “Ultimate Lao SME” to introduce outstanding MSME entrepreneurs in overcoming the crisis that occurred in 2020. Third, a Lao SME Exhibition will be held as well as a Lao SME Forum to share business lessons learnt and devise a plan to cope with the economic situation in 2021.
Fourth, implement MSME innovation inspection under normal circumstances and award Lao SME certificates to auditors and Lao SME members with outstanding civic interests.
Sponsors will be sought to co-sponsor five organisations and collaborate with two institutions to support SME business growth.
The press conference was attended by the Director General of the Department of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion, Bountheung Douangsavanh.
President of the Lao SME Association, Litthikay Phoummasak, said the association was formed by small and medium-sized enterprises from many sectors and with the same ideology to help small, medium and multifaceted enterprises to develop and diversify.
On Aug 1,2020, a committee formed to set up the association held its inaugural meeting to elect the first board of directors. The meeting also approved the rules of the association to submit to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for consideration and approval.
On Jan 26,2021, the Department of Public Administration Development, Ministry of Home Affairs, issued an association registration certificate to the Lao SME Association.
The association currently has 70 members and five VVIP sponsors, namely the Lao-Viet Bank, Maruhan Japan Bank Lao, Xayavong Group Company, ToyoLao Industry Lao Factory Sole, Delivery Hero or Foodpanda (Laos), and Auto Lao Company Limited.
Litthikay said the association’s plan for 2021 is to expand membership, and help micro-enterprises affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially encouraging micro-entrepreneurs to lend money to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Bountheung said the Lao SME Association is an important part of the government’s development focus and will strengthen the Lao business sector’s ability to compete in the marketplace. The government and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry attaches great importance to the work of SMEs.
“We are ready to encourage SMEs to run this association in line with the directions and strategy set by the association according to their potential, ” he said.
A Memorandum of Understanding on the Lao SME Association between the Microfinance Association and the Lao-Japan Human Resource Development Institute, National University of Laos, was signed at the close of the press conference. - Vientiane Times/Asia News Network