The IBI team implementing the USAID-funded Laos Business Environment Activity continued its work to support digital opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Lao by convening a workshop on the Challenges and Digital Solutions for Lao PDR SMEs in the COVID-19 Era on October 28, 2020. The objective of the workshop was to increase awareness in Lao about the important opportunities that digital transformation offers SMEs in the current global economic environment – especially in the context of COVID-19. The workshop included discussion of digital tools tailored to the needs of SMEs, from financial payment solutions to social media marketing and e-commerce platforms. The workshop w
The USAID-funded Laos Business Environment Activity, implemented by IBI, proudly supported the 2020 Lao Handicrafts Festival in order to promote small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and increase their ability to harness digital technology. The Lao Handicraft Festival was held this October, to celebrate Lao’s strong tradition of handicrafts and shine a spotlight on the country’s small businesses. During the nine-day festival over 200 local businesses from around Lao participated. Promoting handicraft related SMEs, which are an important part of Lao tourism industry, is part of Lao strategy to increase women’s participation in the formal economy. The majority of handicraft SMEs are women-owned.
Throughout its 24 years as a leading USAID small business partner, IBI has always sought to implement at “the cutting edge,” including in the core practice area that is capacity building and institutional strengthening. Our often-chaotic modern world poses a question, however: how do you build capacity when both gradually developing trends and sudden, seismic events—like the COVID pandemic—shift the goalposts for government actors, the private sector, and CSOs to achieve success? At IBI, we watch organizations like the World Economic Forum (WEF), which specialize in tracking these changes to nail down the skills organizations of all stripes most need to cultivate in their employees. To this