News and Events

SME Competitiveness Under Institutional Reform and Technological Change

Posted: 2018-11-22
Concept Note
Presentation of Dr. Binh Nguyen
Presentation of Ms. Claudia Carbonell
Presentation of Prof. Jamil Paolo Francisco and Ms. Maribel Dano-Luna
Presentation of Ms. Leonor Abella
Presentation of Ms. Ellen Cortez
Presentation of Usec. Monchito Ibrahim
Presentation of Mr. Lito Villanueva
Presentation of Ms. Camille Caliso
Drivers of Philippine SME Competitiveness: Results of the 2018 SME Survey

The Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness (RSN PCC), in partnership with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Philippines, held a conference entitled “SME Competitiveness Under Institutional Reform and Technological Change” last 14 November 2018, from 9:00AM to 3:20PM, at the Gallardo Function Room, Makati Diamond Residences, Makati City.

The conference launched “Drivers of Philippine SME Competitiveness: Results of the 2018 SME Survey” which discusses the results of the Center’s 2018 Survey on SME development. The event invited the presentation of eight speakers and reaction of two resource persons. It was attended by 92 participants from the government, academe, diplomatic community, private sector, and other stakeholders.

Dr. Jamil Paolo Francisco welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of looking at the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises towards achieving Philippine competitiveness. He noted that the conference aims to level-up the discourse on what drives SME competitiveness in the age of technological and institutional reforms.

The morning session began with a keynote presentation delivered by Dr. Binh Nguyen of Asian Development Bank (ADB) on ADB’s Support for SMEs in Asia and the Pacific from 2005-2017. He noted the importance of supporting policy and regulatory reform aside from credit assistance to developing member countries, specifically on projects for women-owned SMEs. This was immediately followed by the launch of the AIM RSN PCC 2018 survey report on SME competitiveness as presented by Dr. Jamil Paolo Francisco and Ms. Maribel Daño-Luna of AIM RSN PCC. According to survey results, skills and product quality are top enablers of SME success while hostile business environment and poor product quality are top obstacles. The report concluded that it is incumbent upon SME stakeholders to strive for a competitive business environment to allow SMEs to compete.

Reaction from DTI’s Ms. Claudia Carbonell focused on the few numbers of SME exporters in the survey. She noted that DTI aims to address SMEs’ difficulty in accessing new markets and new technology to allow them to engage in exports. Mr. Primitivo Paypon, Jr. of AIM’s Dado Banato Incubator noted that Philippine regions with higher SMEs also has the higher number of startups in their countryside projects. He highlighted the role of regional trade fairs in exposing SMEs to potential export markets.

The afternoon session presents specific SME issues. Ms. Leonor Abella of Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. recognized DTI’s shared facilities for SMEs but emphasized the need for export product consolidation as one path to promote SME participation in exports. Ms. Victoria Ellen Cortez of Small Business Corporation shared government programs for access to cheap financing (e.g. P3 or Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso). DICT Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim agreed that poor infrastructure hampers SME’s potential to export. He highlighted the need to engage MSMEs in e-commerce to link them to markets. Mr. Lito Villanueva of FINTQnologies Corp. shared fintech’s innovative role in addressing access to cheap financing highlighting tingi approach in financing MSMEs. Lastly, Ms. Rose Ann Camille Caliso presented AIM RSN PCC’s study on women-owned SMEs highlighting the significant gender gap in terms of linkages with large and foreign firms and how women-owned SMEs earn less from exports.

The morning session was moderated by Mr. Tristan Canare, Associate Director and Senior Economist at the AIM RSN PCC. The afternoon session was moderated by Prof. Ronald Chua, Associate Professor at AIM. The forum was closed by Mr. Tristan Canare who was also the master of ceremonies.

For questions or comments, please e-mail the AIM RSN PCC at




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