Increasing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the GMS, will be essential in preparing the CLMVT countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand) economies for integration into the more competitive AEC 2015 economic environment.
Utilizing its vast expertise and experience in SME and value chain development, MI is moving to tackle this vital issue through its programs. In line with this goal, MI recently completed a week-long training course, entitled, Action Research Methodology on SME Clusters and Value Chain Integration.
The training course, supported by the New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade Aid Programme, aimed to enhance the research methodology-knowledge and practical skills of twelve CLMVT twelve national researchers, Young GMS Professionals and MI-based researchers.
During training modules, participants developed and enhanced their practical skills and analytical capacities to conduct research on projects relating to SME cluster formation and integration into regional and global value chains.
These new and enchaned skills will enable them to develop and implement intervention strategies linking SME clusters into regional and global supply chains, helping to bring about a strenghtened, more competitive local SME sector capable of competing in the new regional and global marketplace.
The trianing emphasised the formation of work plans to empower SME cluster formation. These plans will be put into practice by participants from November 2012-January 2013. During this time, researchers will collect data and observe SME clusters and value chain operations.
After completing their research, participants will analyze and synthesize their findings in preparation for an MI round-table meeting in January 2013. This meeting will provide participants with a much-needed platform through which to discuss, critique and exchange research results and findings.
Emphasizing tangible results contributing to the ongoing development of the SME sector in the GMS, MI will produce and distribute policy briefs from the research findings which will be shared with key stakeholders and policy makers involved in regional SME cluster and export consortia formation.