With President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in attendance, Go Negosyo founder and MSME Development Council Vice Chair Joey Concepcion and Department of Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual thanked the Government of Japan at a formal ceremony in Tokyo last February 10 for its support of MSME development through entrepreneurial mentorship.
The Government of Japan, through the Japan ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), gave a grant amounting to US$681,339 to fund the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN). In a ceremony held at the Palace Hotel in Tokyo, President Marcos witnessed the presentation of a Certificate of Gratitude to the Government of Japan, which was received by Yutaka Arima of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accompanied by Matsui Miho, Deputy Director in charge of JAIF. AMEN is one of 35 agreements, loans and grants exchanged in Tokyo during President Marcos’s official visit.
“Through their support of AMEN, the Government of Japan has contributed greatly to creating prosperity for more in the ASEAN by uplifting the SMEs, which make up 96 percent of the total enterprises in the region,” said Concepcion. He observed that even in Japan, SMEs comprise almost all of the enterprises in the country, and that across the ASEAN, efforts to accelerate economic growth and job generation through small business enterprises are aligned. In the Philippines, President Marcos has instructed the strengthening of the MSME Development Council during the MSME Summit last August 2022, and has noted the contribution of the MSME sector in generating employment in the country.
AMEN is a region-wide program originated in the Philippines as Kapatid Mentorship for Micro Enterprises (KMME) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Go Negosyo. It is based wholly on KMME, which has benefited more than 12,000 MSMEs and mobilized over 800 mentors since 2016. AMEN was launched in 2017 as the legacy project of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council-Philippines during the Philippines chairmanship of the ASEAN. AMEN completed its pilot implementation in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, and its ten-part module has been translated to seven languages namely Khmer, Indonesian, Lao, Bahasa Malay, Burmese, Thai and Viet.
Through mentorship, AMEN is seen to significantly help ASEAN SMEs.