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USAID AND MOIC launch SMART UP, an online learning platform for SMEs

SMART UP, an online platform that will help Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to have more opportunities to achieve their goals of market expansion as well as boosting their competitiveness in the online market.

The opening ceremony of the platform took place in Vientiane on Thursday 16, September attended by the Department of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Lao ICT Commerce Association in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Laos Business Environment Project and invited guests from other involved groups formally launched the SMART UP, an e-learning platform, designed to help SMEs and entrepreneurs enhance their digital skills from anywhere at any time which can be accessed through SMART UP

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr Somchit Inthamit said “The government places great importance on supporting and strengthening digitization through special policies in order to spur economic growth, SMEs play an important role in economic growth because they cover over 90 percent of business across the country, and create jobs and today account for over 80 percent of jobs across the country.”

“The online market in Laos has been growing since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic because people spend more time shopping and doing business online. The SMART UP platform will be the optimal choice for SMEs to learn and upgrade their skills so they can develop their business as well as increase their competitiveness in the digitization market” a representative of the Lao ICT Commerce Association added while USAID Country Representative to Laos, Mr Michael Ronning commented on the Government of Lao PDR’s efforts on improving the Lao business environment “Technological innovation presents new opportunities to respond to critical development challenges. The launch of SMART UP is timely as it will help Laos’ SMEs and entrepreneurs to survive and adapt to the challenges and opportunities of the new economic environment created by COVID in which digital skills are often essential”.

SMART UP is an online education platform for digital literacy skills for entrepreneurs and Small and Medium-size Enterprises (SMES) which has been developed under the cooperation with the Department of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion, Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Lao ICT Commerce Association with support from the USAID Laos Business Environment project.

The system aims to strengthen SMEs to benefit more from Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The platform contains eight curriculums which have been developed and designed by prominent professors from the National University of Laos with support from USAID included basic accounting for SMEs, digitization, multimedia for SMEs, online safety for SMEs, e-commerce essentials, digital marketing and sales for SMEs, full stake development and data analysis for SMEs to provide SMEs and entrepreneurs with the skills they need to enhance and promote their businesses.