SMEs in ASEAN continue digital journey

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for businesses to accelerate their digital transformation.
By: | July 22, 2020

Some 4,000 local micro-entrepreneurs and under-employed youths in Brunei will be provided digital skills as the South-East Asian country becomes the latest  to join the Go Digital ASEAN initiative.

Darussalam Enterprise (DARe), a statutory body established to build Brunei enterprises into “dynamic and resilient drivers of economic growth,” said in a statement that participants of the Go Digital ASEAN initiative will be equipped with technology skills and tools that help them expand economic opportunities across the region, and minimise the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, training will be provided to help youth and business owners gain the skills needed to open up markets for their products, craft their own digital marketing campaigns and provide them with tools to monitor and adapt marketing campaigns.

Implemented by the Asia Foundation and approved by the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium  Enterprises (ACCMSME), the Go Digital ASEAN initiative hopes to reach out to 200,000 underserved people and rural micro-enterprises in ASEAN, by providing them with crucial digital skills and tools.

This will complement the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 introduced by the Brunei government this June, which aims to turn the country into a Smart Nation that has a “digital and future-ready society, vibrant and sustainable economy, as well as a conducive digital ecosystem.”

For many small and medium enterprises (SMEs), digitalisation is a critical step to increase business and operational resiliency, as well as enhance productivity, suggested Nuraslina Zainal Abidin, Group Managing Director of Genaxis Group.

She advised companies pursuing digital transformation to focus on enhancing customer experience at every touchpoint with their customers on digital platforms, as more consumers turn to mobile or internet platforms to make purchases.

Processes also need to be re-looked at, as Nuraslina explained, “We should take the opportunity to clean up, remove critical barriers for growth in our business and choose the right digital technology as the enabler to reach new goals.”