May 29, 2015—Women who lead small and medium enterprises in the ASEAN region will gain greater access to global markets through a marketing and branding initiative that officially began this week.
The initiative, Gender Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women (GREAT Women), provides a regionally integrated supply chain as well as an opportunity for support and collaboration among women marketing crafts and artisanal goods under a regional brand—The GREAT Women–ASEAN Collection. GREAT Women will also help women protect their products from being illegally copied and sold.
The small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the initiative will initially sell food items and spices, textiles and silk-based goods, and high-fashion jewelry and accessories, according to a news item from ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The products are manufactured according to standards for fair trade and labor.
The Philippines-based initiative was introduced this week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, during the ASEAN SME Showcase and Conference (ASCC) 2015. The ASEAN SME Agencies Working Group and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs are collaborating on the initiative.
The Business Alliance is a public-private partnership involving some 20 leading U.S. corporations, through the trade association U.S.-ASEAN Business Council (USABC), and involving the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through its ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment (ACTI) project. Nathan Associates provides technical assistance and training through ACTI.