Launch of new 'SDG Partnership' on supporting MSMES through inclusive digital transformation

November 20, 2022
Key speakers and poster of event
UNDP Seoul Policy Centre
View the recording of this event:  English  Korean


Micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are key drivers of national and local economies, accounting for around 90% of businesses, 60 to 70% of employment and 50% of GDP worldwide. Yet, they are often the most disadvantaged and vulnerable to shocks. In this age of digital revolution, they are also exposed to the growing digital divide with limited access to basic digital tools and technologies. To mitigate the challenges of marginalized groups, including MSMEs, youth and women-led small businesses, digital transformation must be intentionally inclusive, and take a whole-of-society approach, as highlighted in UNDP Digital Strategy 2022-2025.

As part of such efforts, United Nations Development Programme Seoul Policy Centre (USPC), hosted a webinar on ‘Supporting MSMEs through Inclusive Digital Transformation’ to launch a new country-support SDG Partnership programme and share the experiences of the Republic of Korea on supporting small businesses and MSMEs through inclusive digital transformation. The event was organized in collaboration with Korea’s Small Enterprise and Marketing Service (SEMAS) and KT Corporation as well as UNDP Chief Digital Office, and was joined by UNDP country offices and their partners.

The webinar opened with an overview of UNDP’s Digital Strategy and its programmatic focus on supporting vulnerable groups. UNDP Chief Digital Officer, Mr. Robert Opp, emphasized the importance of taking a holistic approach in digital transformation and introduced UNDP’s digital inclusion programmes to support MSMEs in low and middle-income countries. “Digital technology can be an important accelerator for development only if we put people and inclusion at the centre,” said Mr. Opp.

The main sessions showcased innovative public and private sector solutions from Korea to build a more inclusive and resilient digital economy. Mr. Won-Sang Cha, Digital Innovation Business Unit General Manager of Small Enterprise and Marketing Service (SEMAS) presented examples of programmes to foster the growth of small businesses with the provision of such tools as online retail and service platforms, mobile payment systems, and commercial zoning through data analytics . Mr. Jin Ryu, Data Business Team Leader of KT Corporation gave an example of how larger corporations can help smaller businesses for mutual growth with its ‘Jalnagagae’ programme, in which the company provides AI and big data supported commercial data analysis free of charge including population flows and customer profiles that helps reduce costs and increase business growth.

To conclude, USPC provided a brief overview of the new SDG Partnership programme for UNDP Country Offices interested in the topic of ‘Supporting MSMEs through Inclusive Digital Transformation’. The new programme aims to facilitate partner countries’ efforts to support vulnerable economic actors through digitalization, via peer-to-peer technical exchanges with Korean experts as well as seed funding to adapt Korean tools and practices to local contexts.

“MSMEs need to be digitally ready in order to leverage the benefits of evolving technologies for employment and livelihoods. We hope that this webinar and the new programme will become a steppingstone for wider and stronger collaborations across sectors and across countries, to move together towards more inclusive digital economies,” concluded Ms. Anne Juepner, Acting Director of USPC.

Title Speaker
UNDP Digital Strategy: Supporting MSMEs through inclusive digital transformation Robert Opp | Chief Digital Officer, UNDP
Digital Transformation of SMEs

Won-Sang Cha | General Manager of Digital Innovation Business Unit, Small Enterprise and Marketing Service (SEMAS)

Customer Insight Innovation Using KT Big Data ('KT Jalnagagae' programme)

Jin Ryu | Data Business Team Leader, KT Corporation


About UNDP: As the United Nations lead agency on international development, UNDP works in 170 countries and territories to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities, and to build resilience to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Our work is concentrated in three focus areas; sustainable development, democratic governance and peace building, and climate and disaster resilience.