E-commerce has opened opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to flourish and take advantage of new markets. In the Mekong region, Thailand and Vietnam’s e-commerce markets are growing at an exponential pace, while markets in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar have reflected steady progress in online business development. Despite these gains, many women-led SMEs, especially those from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam, have yet to fully harness their e-commerce potentials for broader market access and trade opportunities.
Women-led SMEs play an important role in the economies of Mekong countries, as they contribute to increased innovation, competitiveness, and income. Nonetheless, studies found that women-owned businesses rarely grow from micro- to SMEs. This is because while women are working under the same regulatory and institutional conditions as their male counterparts, they are faced with additional barriers, ranging from social acceptability, family responsibilities, and more limited access to opportunities for growth.
To support the increased participation of women in utilizing e-commerce for wider access to markets, Mekong Institute, in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam, is implementing the “Market Access Through E-Commerce Promotion for Women-Led SMEs” project. The three-year project aims to increase women’s income and employment opportunities through the development and expansion of export products from Mekong countries to the Republic of Korea.
The project is supported by the Korea International Cooperation Agency.
- Enhance the quality, quantity, and relevance of trade promotion organizations’ business development services
- Strengthen capacities of women-led SMEs in identifying and integrating their products into the global market through e-commerce platforms
- Capacity Building
- Platform Building
- Tailored Trainings
- Market Study
- Improved export market information for women-led SMEs
- Enhanced capacity of women-led SMEs to expand businesses through e-commerce
Year 1: Assessment of Mekong-Republic of Korea Export Market Trends
- Market Entry Study in the Republic of Korea
- Baseline Study in CLMV
- 1st Training on “Entrepreneurship Development Through E-Commerce Promotion”
Year 2: Facilitation of E-Commerce Promotion in Mekong Countries
- 2nd Training on “Entrepreneurship Development Through E-Commerce Promotion”
Year 3: Project Monitoring and Evaluation
- 3rd Training on “Entrepreneurship Development Through E-Commerce Promotion”
- Project Impact Evaluation
Women business groups, export associations, government ministries in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam