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28 SEP 2020Bloomberg Media Studios

The Face of Small Business Across Southeast Asia

10 min read

With the world evolving faster than ever, businesses need to reinvent themselves amid changing trends and priorities. In light of COVID-19 and the new decade, advances in technology are and will continue to disrupt old business models, giving rise to the new economy. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are now in the forefront, accounting for more than 90% of establishments in the ASEAN region, and contributing to 30-53% of GDP among member countries.

In our follow-up report conducted prior to COVID-19, findings have revealed that amidst the global pandemic and in future, Southeast Asian entrepreneurs are future-focused. More than ever, they are looking towards leveraging technological advances to improve their businesses in order to connect better with their customers. MSMEs plan to invest more in business technologies such as cybersecurity, e-commerce, and AI, which will accelerate their digital transformation and streamline operation processes.

To better understand the needs of Southeast Asia’s MSMEs, research conducted by Bloomberg Media Studios in partnership with GrabFinance unearthed the views and aspirations of 600 respondents from MSMEs in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. The survey-based study, titled SMEs in a New Decade, New Economy, sought to uncover the trends, business needs and priorities of the region’s entrepreneurs as they enter an exciting new era.

Select and download the relevant report for your business growth

  • The Face of Small Business Across Southeast Asia - Sep 2020 Report

    Amidst the global pandemic and in future, Southeast Asian entrepreneurs are future-focused with only 1% of businesses expected to operate the same way pre-Covid.

  • SMEs in a new decade, new economy - Feb 2020 Report

    As we enter a new decade, advances in technology are disrupting old business models and giving rise to the new economy. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are moving to the forefront.

Learn more about this thought-leadership study

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About Bloomberg SME Audiences:

1 out of 2 SME respondents in this survey is a Bloomberg frequent audience. Bloomberg audiences are split 50-50 between micro-to-small-sized and medium-sized companies and are more likely to be “success seekers”, while non-audiences are more likely to be solo entrepreneurs and seek career stability.

Demographics of Bloomberg SME audience:

Span from a wide range of industries, more likely to be in manufacturing, IT/software and wholesale distribution
Tech-savvy with half of them foreseeing to be utiliszing AI, cloud computing, mobile apps to do business forecasting and expanding on the usage of e-wallets, etc. in the next few years
Use their own savings and bank loans for their businesses
Have a greater need to look for business loans compared to the average SMEs (78% vs 69%)
More likely to source funding via P2P lending services, crowdfunding and venture capitalists.

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When you start a small business, you’ve got big dreams. And GrabFinance is here to help. We’re committed to empowering SMEs across Southeast Asia with funding, tools and insights so they can reach their goals, no matter what they are.

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Komsan Chiyadis

GrabFood delivery-partner, Thailand

Komsan Chiyadis

GrabFood delivery-partner, Thailand

COVID-19 has dealt an unprecedented blow to the tourism industry, affecting the livelihoods of millions of workers. One of them was Komsan, an assistant chef in a luxury hotel based in the Srinakarin area.

As the number of tourists at the hotel plunged, he decided to sign up as a GrabFood delivery-partner to earn an alternative income. Soon after, the hotel ceased operations.

Komsan has viewed this change through an optimistic lens, calling it the perfect opportunity for him to embark on a fresh journey after his previous job. Aside from GrabFood deliveries, he now also picks up GrabExpress jobs. It can get tiring, having to shuttle between different locations, but Komsan finds it exciting. And mostly, he’s glad to get his income back on track.