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Voices of MSMEs: COVID-19 Recovery and Staying Resilient with Small Business Owners across Asia

In Business
Oct 31, 2021

This virtual roundtable discussion will bring together micro-, small- and medium- enterprise (MSME) owners to share experiences and challenges dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to highlight the importance of supporting MSME recovery and resilience by centring their voices in the process.

Type: Roundtable Discussion (Webinar)

When: 5 November 2021, 15:00 – 16:30pm (GMT+7 Bangkok)

Where: Zoom (Online)

Contact(s): Carina Uchida (uchida@iloguest.org)


Please register for the event here.



The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions have disrupted the world of work in Asia and the Pacific. Amidst various government measures, lockdowns and workplace closures, small businesses have been disproportionately affected by the crisis due to their limited business size and cash reserves. Micro-, small- and medium-enterprises (MSMEs) are also more likely to be in the informal economy and have therefore not been able to access social security and crisis relief.


To highlight the importance of supporting MSME recovery from COVID-19 and centring their experiences in the process, the ILO is organizing the virtual roundtable discussion Voices of MSMEs: COVID-19 Recovery and Staying Resilient with Small Business Owners across Asia, to be held on the 5th of November 2021. The event will coincide with the launch of the new COVID-19 business resilience page hosted on the ILO’s Peer Learning Hub.


The roundtable discussion will centre the experiences of MSMEs by bringing small business owners across the region together, to engage in fruitful discussion on innovative and needs-based solutions to support their recovery and long-term prosperity.


The event is based on the series of videos produced as ‘Voices of MSMEs’ where various business owners and experts share their insights on COVID-19, recovery and motivational advice for staying resilient. Participants will include interviewees from the videos as well as key senior management from the ILO.


The interactive conversation will centre the personal experiences of MSME owners during COVID-19 and how they have managed to survive during trying times. In addition, the discussion will focus on what small business owners need for long-term sustainable recovery, and how to best achieve them through community and collaboration. By bringing MSMEs and experts together, the roundtable will emphasize the benefits of creating networks, mentorship and open dialogue for inclusive recovery.


In order to make the session as engaging as possible, a moderator will follow the agenda and ask speakers questions. In addition, a live note-taking company will be able to draw and illustrate the discussion on the screen in real-time.


The virtual roundtable session will have initial opening remarks from the ILO and an expert to frame the discussion on business resilience and MSME recovery from COVID-19. Then, the conversation will pivot directly to MSME owners where they will engage in interactive discussions on their personal experiences, practical tips and skills that have helped them adapt and inspirational advice to motivate each other. Pre-prepared and audience questions will bring the discussion towards needs-based solutions and the importance of centring MSMEs for inclusive and sustainable pandemic recovery.




Expert Commentator: Charles Bodwell, enterprise development specialist at the International Labour Organization for East and South East Asia and the Pacific

  • Sharifah Nur Ilisa, Founder & CEO of Sugar and I (Malaysia)
  • Buntongyi Nit, CEO & Co-founder of Meet Doctor (Cambodia)
  • Nidtaya Phetdavanh, Founder & Director of BNN Clean and Organic Agriculture Sole Co. Ltd (Lao PDR)
  • Thanida Dollatanyaponpakapob, Founder of Ira Natural Products (Thailand)

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