VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Laos will be able to increase export opportunities as well as start-up building solutions through a knowledge sharing programme (KSP) with the Republic of Korea.
The Final Reporting Workshop of the 2021/22 KSP with the theme “Investing in New Exporters through Startups Promotion in Laos” took place in Vientiane on Aug 17, aiming to pass on Korea’s development experience and knowledge to Laos for the purpose of institutional and capacity building.
The event was attended by KSP Senior Advisor and former Vice SME Minister of the Republic of Korea, Dr Dosung Na; Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Bountheung Douangsavanh; Director General of the Trade Promotion Department, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Xaysomphet Norasingh; and Director General of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) Vientiane and Chairman of the Korean Business Association, Pil Seong Kim.
The programme is funded by Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, coordinated by KOTRA, and organised by the Hyundai Research Institute and the Korea Venture Business Association to share Korea’s development experience and knowledge with partner countries for their institutional and capacity building.
Various policies and action plans were suggested by the Hyundai Research Institute, a KSP research team, as a result.
At the workshop, the Principal Investigator of the Hyundai Research Institute, Junpyo Hong, said the creation of a smart logistics centre and government-private joint export promotion meetings in the short term, and the introduction of export vouchers for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to give options for export support programmes in the long term, are some of the policy instruments that the Lao government can use to boost exports.
As for the incubation of SMEs, he recommended setting up an innovation centre to educate and train new entrepreneurs, incubate new start-ups, conduct joint research and development (R&D), support pilot production, and exchange information.
Meanwhile, Pil Seong Kim suggested 13 export and start-up related projects.
Considering the limited resources, he advised Laos to introduce key performance indexes to enhance export performance, the export promotion act, a trade statistics system, a national brand development committee connected to local product images, trade start-up incubation programmes, carbon trading, and expansion of overseas networks to support Lao exporters.
“Subsequent programmes to step up the export promotion effort as well as start-up incubations in Laos can be planned in the form of additional KSPs or cooperation programmes with Korea,” Kim said.
The CEO of Green Goods from S. Korea, Jaewon Lee, also gave a presentation to show the view of agricultural start-ups in Laos to policymakers.
“We believe there are many chances for start-ups to run agricultural businesses in Laos. When it comes to exports, assuring the quality of products as well as feed and fertiliser is important to develop a competitive edge internationally,” he said.
Bountheung Douangsavanh added “As discussed with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups of the Republic of Korea during an official visit to the ministry in Korea in June, we will design a potential joint programme to set up a start-up incubating centre that can provide full one-stop services to nurture new entrepreneurs with the help of Korea. Through the joint programme, bilateral cooperation will become stronger in the mid- to long-term.”
Xaysomphet Norasingh said “Born-global start-ups are necessary in Laos, not only to bolster the volume of exports, but also to diversify export items.”
“The suggestions made under the KSP will play a role in upgrading the export promotion policies of the Lao government. We welcome partnership activities with Korea and hope to build a more solid development cooperation relationship.”
Pil Seong Kim added “This KSP project will be a milestone for KOTRA to enhance collaboration with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to increase the volume of trade between our two countries. Starting from this KSP, we will discover more areas in which the Lao government is in need of development experience and know-how from Korea.”