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  • Magdalena Parkhurst

Laos Business Environment Activity Supports Handicrafts Sector SMEs’ Use of Digital Technology

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.

Handicraft SMEs often lack the digital resources needed to grow their businesses and access today’s global markets. The Handicraft Festival was an important opportunity for the Laos Business Environment Activity to provide SME support in the form of two panel discussions— “Promoting Lao Handicraft” and “Turning Crisis into opportunity”—as well as a Digital Enhancement Workshop and logistical support.

IBI partnered with the Lao Handicraft Association, the Government of Lao, and the USAID/Laos Mission. The festival’s opening day was attended by US Ambassador to Laos Peter Haymond. Ambassador Haymond received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Lao Handicraft Association in recognition of USAID’s support. Cullen Hughes, the Director of USAID/Laos Office of Economic Growth, Education and Energy delivered opening remarks for the Digital Enhancement Workshop.

A participant asks questions at the Digital Enhancement Workshop Sponsored by IBI through the USAID Laos Business Environment Activity.

IBI is proud to support Lao SMEs, especially during this difficult time, and to help them turn challenges into opportunities. The Activity’s emphasis on cross-cutting digital skills is one important way to promote growth among Lao SMEs and ultimately the broader Lao economy.



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