Written by Mekong Institute
The Mekong Institute (MI) was commissioned by Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA) to contact a four-week annual regional training program on “Enhancing Entrepreneurship in SME Development and Export Consortia” during 04-20 July 2011 for sixteen participants. They were middle and senior governmental officials, senior managers from Chamber of Commerce and Industries, members of Business Associations and senior entrepreneurs and private sectors from Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. The program aimed for providing practitioners in the field of SMEs and export promotion with the necessary knowledge and skills to promote export consortia. It particularly sought to enhance the participants’ capacities in export promotion by providing opportunities for them to 1) understand the need and importance of SME providing opportunities for them to 1) understand the need and importance of SME clusters and export consortia in the context of SME promotion; 2) become more aware of how to analyze or consider proposed enterprise developemnt policies and strategies in the context of SME cluster for export promotions; and 3) understnad of the steps involved in consortum creation and the factors affecting the creation.
This sought to provide opportunities for the participants to access and consider more effective enterprise from the learning program and facilitate them to meet key people from different countries with an exception that they could develop networking and cooperation in the future, and also enable develop SME development strategies for both private and public organizations in their own countries.
The training course was designed and delivered using a modular training approach where participants went through three progressive stages : i) “Learn to Do”-training on concepts, techniques and tools to be employed; ii) “Do to Learn”- the participants were required to apply what they learned in their work assignments with proper coaching from assigned advisers; and iii) “Share to Learn”-the participants had an opportunity to present the results of their group work, learning experiences and lessons learned.
Dr. Eduardo Canela, an expert in SME Development and Export Consortia Development and Management, delivered lectures and facilitated discussions, and shared experiences to the participants. Two in-house resource persons of Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta and Dr. Nittana Southiseng whose expertise in Trade and Investment Facilitation and SME Management, also contributed in running the program, providing lectures and leading the training program as a whole. Nine strucutred learning visits in Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Prathom and Bangkok were conducted to enhance the participants’ understanding of the program contents such as the principles, theories, processes and structures from the lectures and then linked them to practices in the field visits.
The training course comprised four inter-related modules:
Module 1: Understanding Concepts of SME Clusters and Export Consortia: To encourage participants to exchange information and experiences on cluster development and export consortia, to allow the participants to have a clearer understanding on the concept of cluster development, products and services and size of SME export consortia in strengthening the enterprise sector.
Module 2: Managing SME Clusters and SME Export Consortia through Field Visits: To orient participants to visit to various business enterprises in Thailand, to provide opportunities of exposure to various entrepreneurial leadership strategies applied in business operations for export consortia in small, medium and large scale enterprises.
Module 3: Strategy for Consortia Development: To present the strategy for consortia development, with special reference to a business plan preparation, as well as to introduce to the consortium developmen in strengthening the SME sector.
Module 4: Interaction on Export Management with Export Consortium: To facilitate the participants to interact with leading agencies (export consortia, SME associations and clusters) to gain experiences on the export business in Thailand.
Results from a range of evaluation methods showed a high satisfaction rating by the participants. However, recommendations for improvement included providing training sessions on fundamental strategies in developing a business plan, specifically a business plan for export consortia, visiting export consortia/export businesses in Thailand, providing more time on developing business plans and export consortia.