Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in the ASEAN Economic Community

The Report aims to comprehensively assess the opportunities and challenges faced by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in ASEAN through the lenses of financial access, technical support, and an enabling environment for their sustainability and growth.

To this end, the Report focuses on the MSME financing and technical support landscape in all 10 ASEAN Member States. It takes stock of the financing and technical support options currently available to MSMEs along the spectrum, ranging from traditional finance such as bank loans, to alternative finance such as crowdfunding and impact investing.

The study also proposes key recommendations to enable the growth of MSMEs, as well as a 160-page Directory of SME Financing and Technical Support Options which could serve as a valuable resource for MSMEs in the region.


Click here for a 6-page summary.

Key findings

  • MSME development has been recognised as one of the key pillars of growth in all 10 AMS.
  • MSMEs continue to face barriers in access to finance. There exists a ‘missing middle’ phenomenon, where MSMEs in early- to growth-stage3 remain underserved by financiers.
  • Women entrepreneurs tend to face more formidable financial hurdles than their male counterparts
  • As there remains a strong dependence on bank loans among MSMEs in ASEAN, the need to explore and promote alternative finance for MSMEs has become increasingly imperative.
  • For social enterprises, inclusive financing mechanisms such as philanthropy, venture philanthropy and impact investment have also emerged as new financing avenues.


  1. Strengthen responsible and inclusive conduct
  2. Deepen technical support for MSMEs to improve access to finance
  3. Promote alternative finance with an emphasis on inclusive financing options
  4. Provide targeted support to improve women’s access to finance
  5. Promote responsible finance


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