Amidst soft economic conditions, SEA governments are ramping up SME support programmes

Article 4_Website Header_1024x512px

The big read  

2024’s looking brighter for Southeast Asia’s economy with recent HSBC research predicting a 4.6% growth for the ASEAN-6 club in 2024. However, accompanying that healthy growth is continued nagging inflation and the likelihood of higher-for-longer interest rates.

That can have a knock-on effect for SMEs who are facing consumer markets experiencing higher costs of living.


How are governments responding?  

  • Malaysia: is allocating RM44 billion to support MSMEs with loans and financing guarantees, including RM2.4 billion for micro-entrepreneurs and small traders.
  • Singapore: Budget 2024 sees increased funding access for tech startups, collaboration between large entities and SMEs, and sustainability projects, ensuring SMEs’ vital role and environmental stewardship in the economy.
  • Indonesia: is ringing up tax incentives for investments in 246 prioritised business sectors
  • Vietnam: SMEs can access low-interest loans from the SME Development Fund
  • Thailand: is rolling out a plan that’s all about teaming up with private companies, offering training to sharpen skills, creating chances for the jobless to hop on franchise opportunities, shining a spotlight on local products, and ramping up domestic spending, in a bid to boost its SME GDP contribution
  • Philippines: is offering support for MSMEs through programs like KAPATID MENTOR ME, Go Lokal!, and the Barangay Micro Business Enterprise program. They aim to provide financial assistance, improve business skills, and promote market access.


Action plan for SMEs

  • Loans, tax breaks, and digital upgrades are on the menu for SMEs – keep a look out for these
  • So, sharpen those skills, go green, and don’t miss out on the digital wave to stay ahead of the game.
  • Accessing government schemes for halal, eco-friendly, or tech projects could be your golden ticket. It could be a chance to team up with big players and make the most of training and market access offers.


This is a five-part series looking at the opportunities for businesses across the Australia – Southeast Asia corridor. The insights are powered by Via Group: a communications agency focused on supporting international businesses with their cross-border communications needs across Asia. You can check them out at


See other stories in this series


Share this!