Business Beat; TECHNONET-Asia

Article excerpt

Byline: Melito Salazar Jr.

BANGKOK - This city of angels seems to be the best place for a group of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) development veterans to brainstorm on how regional networks can be more relevant in the light of mixed signals and effects of globalization on SMEs, especially domestic market-oriented enterprises.

Having been involved in various stages of our career with an Asian network for SME development, "TECHNONET-Asia" established in 1973 with support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada to collectively promote SME development, it became the focus of our concern. A former Permanent Secretary of Thailand, a respected SME development pioneer from Sri Lanka, the current head of the regional network, a Filipino international SME consultant now based in Thailand and two outstanding Filipino SME development facilitators with Asia as their base and me as Special Adviser to this network project relived memories of battles won and skirmishes lost before focusing on the task ahead.

TECHNONET-Asia is a non-profit, non-political and non-governmental international development organization comprising of a cooperative network of 9 SME promotion and development organizations from 8 Asian and Pacific countries (Bangladesh, Brunei, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam). As a cooperative network, TECHNONET-Asia represents a unique approach to SME networking: Involving organizations which are specialized in different aspects of SME development. By drawing these organizations together in a network, they reinforced each other by sharing experiences and expertise.

The hub of TECHNONET-Asia is a secretariat in Singapore, which facilitates the exchange and nurtures the flow of activities of the network. These activities involve either one-on-one or multidimensional collaboration between/among members or introducing new technologies to the network through external intervention. TECHNONET-Asia's program activities revolve around four major areas: Dissemination of industrial information; provision of industrial extension services; facilitation of technology transfer/sharing; and development of indigenous entrepreneurs and enterprises.

These are delivered to the target groups through the member organizations and other collaborating institutions via: Technology and economic research and surveys; training and human resource development; consultancy and project management; Institution building and resource linkage; development project formulation and administration; Symposia, workshops, seminars and study missions; and development contract execution and management. …