Prayut urges Asean to back micro-sized businesses

Prayut urges Asean to back micro-sized businesses

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha delivers a keynote speech to participants in a seminar on Asean micro-SMEs on Thursday. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha delivers a keynote speech to participants in a seminar on Asean micro-SMEs on Thursday. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged Asean countries to support "micro-SMEs" by keeping their owners abreast of digital technological know-how and to ensure they have access to financial resources.

Thailand, the current Asean chair, started helping struggling businesses from last year in a move to stimulate the local economy.

Micro-SMEs, which are defined as businesses with no more than five workers -- even smaller than small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) -- will be given more aid as the SME Bank was told to adjust its loan criteria.

However, money alone is not enough, Gen Prayut told a seminar on Asean micro-SMEs on Thursday. He stressed that governments in the 10-nation bloc must play a key role in helping entrepreneurs make full use of new marketing tools which are growing more complex.

Teaching entrepreneurs about new innovations is a must as "people who want to be good at digital usage require different skills", the prime minister said.

Gen Prayut believes that digitalisation, supported by both the state and private sectors, will help entrepreneurs in Asean level up their businesses.

In Thailand, there are currently three million micro-SMEs which have generated jobs for 14 million people.

But Gen Prayut still wants more micro-business owners to register with the government in order to reduce the size of what he called the "off-system economy", or businesses that proceed separately without state monitoring.

Once in the system, "they will be granted equal opportunities" to run their businesses, he added.

In another related story, the Labour Ministry is continuing to develop skills of workers in SMEs to increase their productivity by sending experts to train them at their workplaces.


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