Press releases

ITC, Google, ICC launch digital trade programme for small businesses in ASEAN

9 February 2023
ITC News

The Digital Export Enablement Programme for ASEAN Small Businesses aims to strengthen the digital export-relevant skills of 1,000 small businesses.

(Geneva/Paris) The International Trade Centre (ITC) joins forces with Google and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to launch the Digital Export Enablement Programme (DEEP) for Small Businesses in ASEAN to empower small firms to grow internationally via e-commerce.

According to a recent study conducted by ICC and Google, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in ASEAN have relatively low participation in regional trade compared to their economic importance, and 60% of these firms have a strong interest in expanding their activities to new markets in the region. To be able to take advantage of regional opportunities, over 75% of MSMEs surveyed voiced their need for tailored support to increase their skills and capabilities in digital marketing and in leveraging digital tools and technologies to access market information.

In response to these needs, the programme will strengthen the digital capacity of 1,000 MSMEs from 10 ASEAN markets through a series of virtual and in-person trainings, as well as improved access to digital platforms and practical workshops.

The goal is to lead small businesses through a cross-border entrepreneurial journey, from identifying and comparing trade opportunities to understanding market access conditions, exploring trade finance options and the international commercial terms governing contracts, sharpening their skills in digital marketing and growing their business through e-commerce channels. The programme is free of charge and in-person training sessions will be delivered in local languages.

Firms from ASEAN countries interested in participating in DEEP can apply by midnight 20 March here.

Trainers interested in participating in DEEP can apply here, by midnight 20 March.

ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said “this is a landmark programme for ICC Centres of Entrepreneurship in Asia-Pacific, a practical resource that will take SMEs to the next level. It will help SMEs from the ASEAN region increase their footprint in regional and global trade through the use of digital-export related tools made available by ICC CoE Jakarta, in partnership with Google and the International Trade Centre. By launching this programme, we are helping SME owners, families and communities from Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.”

Karan Bhatia, Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google, said: “Digital technologies are creating opportunities for small businesses to trade and reach international markets in ways impossible a generation ago, but those opportunities are not always easy to seize. Google is excited to collaborate with the ICC and ITC to develop the DEEP training curriculum to help address this gap in ASEAN – and better enable MSMEs to fully benefit from the growing digital economy.”

ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton said: “Small businesses in Southeast Asia need targeted training to identify, understand and use digital tools to expand to new markets in the region – and this collaboration with Google and ICC is designed to do that. Digital connectivity matters for development, and we have to invest in it if we’re serious about achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The programme will be implemented with the support of the ICC Global Centres of Entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia (Jakarta Hub) and the ICC Academy, as well as partnering business support organizations and government ministries.


About the International Trade Centre - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

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About the International Chamber of Commerce - The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the institutional representative of more than 45 million companies in over 130 countries. ICC’s core mission is to make business work for everyone, every day, everywhere. Through a unique mix of advocacy, solutions, and standard setting, we promote international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation, in addition to providing market-leading dispute resolution services. Our members include many of the world’s leading companies, SMEs, business associations and local chambers of commerce.

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International Trade Centre
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Tom Eisenchteter 
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International Chamber of Commerce
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