MANILA - Big business can help small entrepreneurs by giving them access to credit and a platform to sell their products, the head of the ASEAN business advisory council said on Sunday.
The business group will launch a mentoring program for micro, small and medium enterprises ahead of a summit of Asia Pacific heads of government.
"The conglomerates are part of this program in various areas. It's not only mentoring that's important, we put a framework where mentoring money and market are important," Concepcion told reporters.
Concepcion was asked how the Sys of SM, the Ayala Group and tycoon Manuel Pangilinan can help uplift MSMEs.
"Without money, that's not enough. We need the 3Ms to propel inclusivity in having MSMEs scale up. Many of our big conglomerates own banks, own retail stores, have the largest supply chain. By basically coming as partners, the ecosystem -- we are seeing their participation," Concepcion said.
The ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network or AMEN that started on Sunday has an initial pool of 143 mentors.
"There are no policies when it comes to mentorship, whether we have this program or not, mentoring is happening with parents, school and spiritual mentors. What we're doing is focusing on mentorship directed towards MSMEs, in digital space, and agriculture, logistics and finance," he said.
Mentors can tap into the specializations of their home countries like logistics abd digtal technology for Singapore and agriculture for Maynmar, Cambodia and Laos, he said.
Concepcion said he saw nothing wrong with US President Donald Trump's "America First Policy."
"I think it's a common sense thing. Every country, I mean, definitely Philippines first right? If you're a Filipino, it should be Philippines first, protect your citizens," he said.
"But in the end, you realize how to relate to other countries and use their strengths. Trump means well, he wants to bring back jobs to America," he said.