Champassak advisory centre to strengthen business in southern provinces

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times) - The Champassak provincial Small and Medium Enterprises Service Centre (SSC) aims to strengthen the capacity of SMEs in the southern provinces towards business expansion and enhanced competition in the region.  

The centre was officially opened on Wednesday. The ceremony was attended by Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Mr Somchith Inthamith, Champassak provincial Deputy Governor Mr Bouasone Vongsongkone, and representatives of the Champassak provincial Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The centre is a part of the government’s business promotion policy to offer consultation on business operations and access to finance, Mr Somchith said.

Laos currently has three SME service centres, located in Vientiane and the provinces of Luang Prabang and Champassak and expects to open more in other provinces.

The service centre was established through the joint efforts of the SME Promotion Department and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), with the support of the Regional Economic Integration of Laos into Asean, Trade and Entrepreneurship Development project.

The centre aims to support and provide technical services as well as promote enterprise development in the areas of business start-up, entrepreneurship promotion, productivity enhancement, quality improvement, innovation development, and business cooperation.

In addition, the centre provides Asean-related services such as the dissemination of information related to Asean, strengthening competitiveness in priority sectors, Asean standards, and market access.

The SSC will house experienced trade experts from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to provide businesses and start-ups with new updates on SME connectivity through seminars and training sessions.

SMEs play an important role in the socio-economic development of Laos. In recognition of this, the government is promoting SMEs and helping entrepreneurs to gain access to finance and other facilities.

Small and medium enterprises account for 98 to 99 percent of all businesses in Laos but they are small and lack competitiveness.

The development of SME Service Centres is one of the main pillars of the LNCCI Strategic Private Sector Development Plan for 2018-2020.

The plan has seven objectives: improve the competiveness of Lao companies in priority sectors, support SME access to finance, market access and trade facilitation, reward local companies and SMEs under the Lao Business Awards scheme, develop an ecosystem for start-up and business incubation in Laos, assist and attract MNCs to incorporate business in Laos, and capacity building for SME Service Centres.

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