The economic condition of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) had shown improvement in the second quarter of 2021, even though it had slumped at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This progress was supported by several government policies in helping MSMEs during difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Minister of Cooperatives, Small and Medium Enterprises, Teten Masduki, said in the event “The 6th International Conference on Management in Emerging Market 2021”, Wednesday (11/8/2021). This year, the event’s theme is “Nurturing New Business Landscapes to Embrace the Next to Normal”.

School of Business and Management Bandung Institute of Technology (SBM-ITB) collaborates with Mara Technology University, Yamaguchi University, MDI Ventures, and the IEEE Indonesia Section to organize the event. “The 6th International Conference on Management in Emerging Market 2021” will be held from Wednesday (11/8/2021) to Friday (13/8/2021).

On that occasion, Teten said, SMEs faced some challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. These include difficulties in obtaining capital, accessing capital from banks, and obtaining raw materials due to the reduced supply of raw materials. With assistance from the government, SMEs can overcome these challenges.

The assistance includes tax relief, relaxation of bank loans, and training to increase the ability to use digital technology to expand the market. When SMEs can take advantage of digital technology, they can expand their product market overseas. Therefore, the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs also encourages SMEs to improve their product standards to be accepted in the global market.

“We need support from various stakeholders to accelerate the recovery of the SMEs sector, such as accelerating the application of technology by SMEs,” said Teten.

SMESCO Director, Leonard Theosabrata, added that Indonesian SMEs must win the global competition to survive in the new normal. Leonard suggested that Indonesian SMEs take advantage of the uniqueness of Indonesian culture in creating products to win the competition. SMESCO encourages the use of this method for young Indonesian entrepreneurs.

“Back to the roots, back to the village, we try to implement this method for young Indonesian entrepreneurs,” said Leonard.

To help SMEs recover during the pandemic, SMESCO has also created SME database that the government can use. With this database, the government can issues appropriate policies in dealing with SMEs.

The Dean of SBM ITB Utomo Sarjono Putro hopes that “The 6th International Conference on Management in Emerging Market 2021” will tie collaboration between academics, government, and practitioners in generating ideas that can help SMEs in the new normal. Participants from various countries attend the event; international participants are from the United States, Japan, Australia, Thailand and the Netherlands. On the third day, “The 6th International Conference on Management in Emerging Market 2021” will present the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno and the Minister of National Development Planning/Head of Bappenas, Suharso Manoarfa.