The development of SME clusters and export consortia will be a vital tool in enabling SMEs in the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) to take advantage of the increased opportunities for economic growth provided by AEC 2015.
To enable SMEs to be better prepared for AEC integration, MI has recently conducted the Action Research Methodology on SME Clusters and Value Chain Integration regional training program. The training program comes on the heels on a series of national workshops on SME cluster development and export consortia formation recently held in the CLMV countries and sees the continuation of MIs interest in building the capacity and human resources of local business entrepreneurs.
The five-day program forms one part of the three-year, Capacity Development for Integrating CLMV Economies into AEC project, which will run from 20012-2014. The project is funded by the New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade Aid Programme, a long-time supporter and development partner of MI.
Action research training documents the process of SME cluster formation and the process of integration of the clusters into regional/global value chains. During the training, participants were reoriented to the major concepts and principles of SME clusters and export consortia through an intensive program employing a participatory approach pooling the insight, experience and local wisdom of all involved.
Twelve participants from CLMVT countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand), attended the workshop. Participants included four national researchers, four Young GMS Professionals (YGMS), and three MI-based researchers from MIs Trade and Investment Facilitation Department.
Remarking on the need for the development of research skills, Dr. Suchat Katima, MI Director, stated, "It is important to document the process and best practices in SME clusters formation and their operation. Research will be shared with other SMEs as case studies and be used to improve their operational efficiency and, where needed, make changes."