Minister Park Young-sun of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS) attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Small and Medium Business Ministers' Meeting on Oct. 23, which was held on video to share policies on digitalization of small and medium-sized enterprises. The host country of the global meeting is Malaysia.
The international meeting was designed to share policies to support small and medium-sized enterprises in each country in response to the COVID-19 crisis and to discuss how to respond in the future, the ministry said.
At the conference, Minister Park introduced three policy directions for the digitalization of small and medium-sized enterprises and small business owners, which she has been pushing since the beginning of the year.
“To foster the non-face-to-face sector that led to the advancement of the Korean economy, the government will promote the start-ups in the untact field, support growth, and jointly create a Smart Korea Fund that invests heavily in non-face-to-face sectors,” she said.
The ministry will establish an innovation platform and expand measures to support digitalization, including the onlineization of smart shops and traditional markets, in order to narrow the digital gap between small business owners and traditional markets that are vulnerable to digitalization.
In particular, through the combination of K-pop and live commerce, where the possibility has been confirmed in the accompanying sale in Korea, the ministry will push for "K-Sale" to support small business owners' entry into overseas markets.
At the meeting, ministers of small and medium-sized enterprises of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) adopted a joint declaration highlighting cooperation among member states and digitalization, innovation and technology of small and medium-sized enterprises in the face of the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19.
The declaration emphasized the importance of digitalization, innovation, and technology for resilience of small businesses and the development of digital potential of small business owners and small businesses by removing digital trade barriers and strengthening accessibility to digital tools.
"In the face of the global trade crisis, including the expansion of protectionism caused by COVID-19, cooperation and joint efforts by APEC member countries are essential," said Minister Park. "We will actively participate in discussions on digitalization of small and medium-sized enterprises within the APEC."