Small Business Stories Galvanize Support for Inclusive Agenda

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Stories of two families from the opposite sides of the Pacific, who tapped the benefits of connectivity and mobility to successfully grow their small businesses, graced the gathering of officials from member economies at the 2016 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week.

These are the stories of the winners of the 2016 APEC Video Contest, now on its second year. APEC asked small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to share their stories about how they have used mobile internet technologies to develop and grow commercial ideas.

“Through the contest, APEC created a way for business owners to articulate and share the benefits of mobile connectivity and how it helped their businesses grow,” said APEC Secretariat Executive Director Alan Bollard.

“These are tangible examples of how APEC‘s work to promote sustainable and inclusive growth manifests in our communities,” said Dr Bollard. “Part of this inclusiveness push is helping small businesses create more jobs by providing opportunities to grow and expand.”

Regional Category winner Thu Mai Hang from Viet Nam runs the largest tire shop in Hoang Mai district of Ha Noi, with her family. Host Economy Category winner Varinia Teresa Gonzales Zuniga looks after the business model of her family enterprise that provides fava beans to exporters and operates from Cusco, Peru.

“My family’s business now provides employment to women in San Jeronimo in Cusco, where I come from,” said Ms Zuniga. “More and more, because of internet connectivity, we close the gap between us and our clients. I look forward to seeing more small business like ours in Peru take advantage of the internet to grow and provide jobs to more people.”

Small and medium enterprises make up more than 95 per cent of the businesses in the Asia-Pacific region. These businesses are growing their markets with the help of internet connectivity that enables them to engage in activities like mobile banking and digital promotions, therefore expanding their access to an unprecedented number of potential clients and partners.

“Before, my family never thought of going on a holiday together because of the day-to-day business operations,” said Thu Mai Hang. “But now, the internet has helped us do more with less time. We can now do mobile banking, promote our shop through our company website, communicate with clients, and monitor the shop remotely. The Internet not only helped expand our business, it helped improved the quality of my family’s life.”

The video contest targeting small business was supported by Google.

APEC is working to see these benefits spread to more people and has been pushing hard for the internationalization of SMEs over the past couple of years. This year, Peru kept the momentum on track by making the modernizaton of small businesses a priority for  APEC Peru 2016.

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