Helping SMEs Key to Southeast Asia’s Overall Recovery


With small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accounting for 95% to 99% of all businesses in Southeast Asia, making sure they can participate in the digital economy post-pandemic is key to the region’s recovery, said experts during the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Southeast Asia Development Symposium (SEADS) 2021.

During the session, "An Ecosystem Approach for Economic Recovery in Southeast Asia," experts looked at the opportunities digital technology can bring for economies and identified solutions to support SMEs and young people as they manage the economic impacts posed by the pandemic.

The session was co-organized by ADB and Google.


  • Opening Remarks: Yang Mee Eng, Executive Director, ASEAN Foundation
  • Tenzin Norbhu, Director, Southeast Asia, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google
  • Colton Hubbard, Technical Advisor, Youth & Economic Empowerment, Plan International USA
  • Meloney Lindberg, Country Representative, Cambodia, Asia Foundation
  • Sumitra Pasupathy, Director, Global Partnerships for Ashoka Innovators, Ashoka Foundation
  • Marija Ralic, Lead,, Google APAC

SEADS aims to help crystallize thinking on relevant and critical issues in the region, and support countries in becoming prosperous, knowledge-based, and sustainable.

SEADS 2021, Innovation through Collaboration: Planning for an Inclusive Post-COVID-19 Recovery, was held on 17–18 March.