Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin. PHOTO: AYEC / Lyna Mohamad
“It is apt for us to empower young entrepreneurs in ASEAN by continuing to invest in them and in the innovative solutions they create to truly build a sustainable and inclusive post-pandemic future,” said Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin.
The minister underscored this in his keynote address on ‘Resilience in Re-imagining the New Paradigm’ at the 6th ASEAN Youth Entrepreneurs (AYE) Carnival yesterday.
He added that platforms such as the carnival as well as partnerships with youth-led platforms such as the AYE Council, businesses, individuals and many others through the whole-of-society approach will be crucial.
Calling on young entrepreneurs to take advantage of what ASEAN has to offer and seek even more platforms to accept, accelerate and adopt challenges into new and exciting opportunities, he is confident that not only will businesses recover in the new paradigm, but will also be reimagined as a new and resilient ecosystem capable of continuous and inclusive growth, in line with regional leaders long-term vision.
“After nearly two years of unprecedented challenges, we are now starting the journey towards recovery. In the past two weeks, World Health Organization (WHO) statistics show that new COVID-19 cases have decreased steadily throughout our region, bringing us closer to the resumption of business activity and growth.
“Moving forward towards the post-pandemic future, everyone is aware that it is simply not enough to return to pre-pandemic norms. Instead this is an opportunity to be bold; to undergo significant change; and most of all, to embrace learnings from the pandemic to emerge better and stronger, and ultimately, to be resilient in reimagining business in the new paradigm,” the minister said.
It is undeniable that young entrepreneurs in ASEAN are among the most affected by the pandemic but as has been shown time and again by the young people, they have risen to the challenge and triumphed and continue to inspire by embracing the current situation to build an even better ecosystem for businesses while assisting those in need and all of this despite facing the unrelenting impact of COVID-19.”
As the young entrepreneurs of ASEAN are the definition of resilience in the face of adversity, the minister highlighted their lessons to achieve resilience in the post-pandemic future which he summarised as the “3 A’s”.
The minister said, “Firstly is ‘Acceptance’ – the young entrepreneurs in ASEAN did not deny the impact of COVID-19 but instead, chose to accept and embrace it. The World Economic Forum (WEF) survey on ASEAN youth last year found that instead of being static at home during the pandemic, 87 per cent increased their use of at least one digital tool while 33 per cent of young entrepreneurs utilised e-commerce more actively, with one in four using digital platforms for the first time.
“By accepting the situation quickly, these young entrepreneurs practised the first and foremost part of resilience and acceptance allowed them to take stock and adjust their approach to reach existing and new customers in the new norm. And as more people benefit from this expansion, we are proud of the indication that these changes are not temporary but will permanently benefit lives in the post-pandemic future.”
Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan said, “Next is ‘Acceleration’ where even before COVID-19, ASEAN was already recognised as the fastest growing online market in the world and as one of the main drivers of digitalisation, young entrepreneurs of ASEAN showed their resilience by accelerating this growth, turning the pandemic into a blessing in disguise for the gig economy.
“The dependence on gig workers reminds that digital skills are not only important during physical restrictions, they are also critical to remain relevant in the new paradigm defined by a borderless world.
“ASEAN’s Internet economy is expected to reach USD300 billion in 2025, and e-commerce is expected to be one of the main drivers of recovery through the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, which will pave the way for a more inclusive digital economy for all as emphasised by leaders during the ASEAN Summit last month”.
The minister continued, “Lastly, ‘Adaptation’, where ASEAN young entrepreneurs have shown the skill to adapt to and adopt the new norm by building on ‘Acceptance’ and ‘Acceleration’.
“At the same time, we cannot forget that beyond entrepreneurship and business, COVID-19 has changed almost all aspects of life in ways we never imagined. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, globalisation and evolving personal expectations have all impacted and reshaped our outlook on education, skills, and career development as we know it.
“Above all,” added the minister, “it must be remembered that the post-pandemic era is likely to bring about even more new challenges that the world has never seen before. Learning from experience with the pandemic, youth are more than capable to adapt and transform them into opportunities with the right skills”.