ADFIAP, the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO (ITC) and the International Institute for Trade and Development of Thailand, main actors and partners in the proposed setting up of a regional SME Knowledge and Finance Center, a first in the region, met for a roundtable session with other key stakeholders on July 5-6, 2010 at the Planters Development Bank headquarters in Makati City, Philippines.
The meeting, the third of a series of consultations after those held in Manila on November 24-25, 2009 and Bangkok on February 4-5, 2010, was intended to fine tune and finalize the project study prepared by the ADFIAP Consulting (AC) Group as a means to seek grants and technical assistance for the proposed project from potential international development organizations.
Top and senior officers of ADFIAP members from Planters Development Bank, the Philippine Export-Import Credit Agency, SME Development Bank of Thailand, SME Bank of Malaysia and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) provided their inputs and contributions to the project. Others that attended the meeting came from the Small Business Corporation, the University of the Philippines Institute for Small Scale Industries and the Ministry of Finance of Thailand.
The envisioned regional SME Center is aimed at bridging the gap between banks and financial institutions, mainly DFIs, and the SME sector on the issue of accessing finance by building the capacity of national trade support institutions (TSIs), chamber of commerce and industry, business membership organizations, service providers and other stakeholders to provide technical assistance and advice to SMEs. Using existing practical tools and solutions developed by the partner-institutions, the Center is expected to produce, among others, country-based knowledge resources and experts that would train and coach SME managers on sound financial management practices.