ASEAN and USAID partner to launch BCR Tab, a game-changing resource hub for small businesses, offering free courses and tools to fuel post-pandemic recovery and digital transformation.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has joined forces with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Regional Development Mission for Asia and the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) to unveil an innovative solution for small businesses seeking to recover from the pandemic and thrive in the future. The partnership has given birth to the Business Continuity and Resilience (BCR) Tab webpage, which serves as a comprehensive resource hub, catering to the specific needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

As part of the revamped ASEAN SME Academy online platform, the BCR Tab offers an array of courses, all aimed at accelerating the economic rebound in the aftermath of COVID-19. The best part? These courses are completely free for small businesses, thanks to the generous contributions of international organizations, including the International Labor Organization, as well as member companies of the US-ABC.

Through the BCR Tab, entrepreneurs gain access to an extensive range of e-learning modules, webinars, communities of practice, and curated tools and resources. These resources are designed to equip businesses with the knowledge and skills necessary for sustainable growth, with a particular focus on post-pandemic recovery and digital transformation. Moreover, these valuable assets will be available in multiple languages, including English, Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese.

Blesila Lantayona, Chair of the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME), expressed her enthusiasm for the BCR Tab, stating, “With the BCR Tab, ASEAN SMEs will have access to tools and resources to help them prepare for this rapidly changing business landscape that calls for business resilience through digital transformation, especially after having faced COVID-19 lockdowns. The ASEAN SME Academy’s new BCR Tab will contribute to fast tracking the smarter adoption of digital solutions to future-proof SMEs.”

The Chief Operating Officer of US-ABC, Ms. Margaret Hanson-Muse, shared her belief in the benefits the BCR Tab will bring to ASEAN SMEs. “We believe the BCR Tab will be beneficial for the ASEAN SMEs to help them develop and expand their business, and also to be more resilient to the future crisis that may strike,” she emphasized. Ms. Hanson-Muse also stressed the significance of the BCR Tab in enhancing the relevance of the ASEAN SME Academy.

Dr. Steve G. Olive, Mission Director for the USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia, expressed pride in the ongoing partnership between the United States and ASEAN. He stated, “The United States is proud to continue our partnership with ASEAN and US-ABC to help small businesses grow, expand, and thrive. The USAID-supported Business Continuity and Resiliency Tab webpage offers a fresh suite of online ASEAN SME Academy courses that represents a timely response to the challenges faced by small businesses in a rapidly changing, increasingly digital world.”

This collaboration between USAID, the US-ASEAN Business Council, and ASEAN has its roots in 2014 when the US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive Small and Medium Enterprises was established. The subsequent creation of the ASEAN SME Academy in 2016 further strengthened the ties among these organizations, working together to empower ASEAN SMEs.

Through this renewed collective support and the modernization of the ASEAN SME Academy platform, small businesses will gain the necessary tools to effectively manage cash flow, increase revenue, and harness the power of digital technologies for sustainable growth. The BCR Tab represents a pivotal step forward in creating a resilient and prosperous business environment for SMEs across the ASEAN region.

Sourced from ASEAN