Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, MI Executive Director, took part as a panel discussant in the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Council (AYEC) Regional Dialogue Series on 12 August 2022. The theme of the Dialogue was on “How digital literacy and skills are a catalyst for growth, business opportunities that can transform lives in rural communities.” 

Digital skills are a necessity to many people and businesses. Technology is a key driver for business growth, especially during the past two years of the pandemic’s new reality. However, many employees still lack technological knowledge. Therefore, digital upskilling and reskilling play an essential role in helping people gain new understanding and work more efficiently in their organizations – contributing to the business’s global competitiveness.

This Dialogue, which is the third event, looks at the topic from the perspective of rural entrepreneurs and highlights how rural industries can benefit from the ever-changing nature of entrepreneurship and doing business in general.

“Incorporating digital technologies can improve rural entrepreneurs’ access to wider markets and strengthen their competitiveness through low-cost digital marketing.” Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, MI Executive Director said.

New technologies can also improve the quality and reduce the costs of delivering services and information to rural communities, making physical distances and road infrastructure challenges, typically associated with rural development, obsolete. However, poor connectivity, relatively high costs of ICT infrastructure, and more still remain.

In his speech, Mr. Suriyan pointed out the fast-growing development of digital connectivity and digital economy in the ASEAN and GMS and opportunities for entrepreneurs to access to value chains, finance and markets. He emphasized the importance of digital literacy and upscaling for SMEs, particularly in the rural communities to tap into this potential and benefits as well as avoid cybersecurity issues and incidents such as financial fraud and phishing.

Lastly, the Executive Director underlined key topics for future cooperation to foster greater promotion and adoption of digital tools and platforms for SMEs in rural communities. The topics are effectiveness and refinement of government policy and measures in promoting digital economy, greater investment of digital infrastructure, particularly in rural communities, capacity development and coaching.

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