Being one of the biggest such events in the region, the Mini 1AES gathered about 2,200 participants from all 10 ASEAN countries, and dominated by the younger generation.
Young entrepreneurs were urged to change their mentality from just being “domestic heroes” and aspire to become “regional champions“, while being called on to explore the untapped ASEAN market.
The Mini 1AES, which began on March 19 with the theme,”Futurising ASEAN Entrepreneurs“, was held in conjunction the inaugural ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
During a special session with the ASEAN Finance Ministers, participants were encouraged to chase their dreams and work hard to achieve them as the future growth and prosperity of the region was in their hands.
The ministers also expressed their optimism and confidence in the future of ASEAN entrepreneurship.
Malaysia’s Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah gave an assurance that the ASEAN governments would always support its young entrepreneurs to become successful, though there would be challenges along the road which could dampen their spirits.
“Only those who manage all the challenges well will be successful. Don’t ever be worried about the challenges,” he told participants.
Myanmar’s Finance Minister U Win Shein said ASEAN needed strong entrepreneurs to build up strong entrepreneurship nations.
“As such, all ASEAN countries have to be committed to developing and promoting entrepreneurship.
“ASEAN entrepreneurship gatherings such as the Mini 1AES not only help bridge entrepreneurs in the region.
“It also strengthen communications and understanding between regional regulators and entrepreneurs in developing pragmatic plans and policies for further development of regional entrepreneurship.
“I am sure that the outcome from this gathering will help ASEAN governments further promote entrepreneurship in the region and in an effective way,” he added.
Thailand’s Finance Minister Sommai Phasse reminded young entrepreneurs to always consider a balance between their eagerness to grow and other things in life, to achieve real success.
Malaysian Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar said the Mini 1AES is a prelude to the 1AES, scheduled for Nov 20-22 this year, and to be held in conjunction with Malaysia’s chairmanship of ASEAN this year.
He cited the overwhelming response to the Mini 1AES as evidence that the programme had found a place in the hearts of the younger generation.
“Initially, we expected only 1,500 young entrepreneurs to participate in the programme. But, we accepted up to 3,000 and due to limited places, were only able to approve 2,200,” he said.
For the 1AES, Irwan said participants would have an opportunity to interact with 10 ASEAN leaders, including Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Indonesian President, Joko Widodo.
He also said there would be some important announcement to be made during the 1AES by the Malaysian government which wants to spearhead the ASEAN entrepreneurship development.
In a joint statement, ASEAN Finance Minister and Central Bank Governors, said the 1AES could encourage an entrepreneurial culture and nurture start-up entrepreneurs and nascent companies among ASEAN youth.
They noted that the 1AES would also foster collaboration within ASEAN and further enhance the ASEAN Economic Community.