Lao businesses strike at Asean Business Awards for the second year in a row

LAO PDR (Vientiane Times) - Lao companies impressed their peers with a strong outcome at the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) Gala Night 2019 – an annual event initiated by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council in 2007 and held every year since to recognise outstanding enterprises across the whole ASEAN region that have contributed significantly to ASEAN's economic growth and prosperity while being role models in business growth, sustainability and innovation in their respective home countries.

The ABA provides a chance for businesses to garner greater exposure at the regional level and expand their network into the ASEAN business community. The event draws special attention to promising small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have the potential of becoming regional players in the short and global players in the long run.

Therefore, distinguished entrepreneurs, businessmen and women, as well as high-ranking government representatives, gathered at the Muong Thong Thani Impact Exhibition Centre in Bangkok, Thailand, on November 3 to jointly celebrate the spirit of fair competition and extraordinary entrepreneurial ability.

The awards ceremony was presided over by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Anutin Charnvirakul, with the Chairman of the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB), Mr Kalin Sarasin, Chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, Mr Supant Mongkolsuthree, and Chairman of the Thai Bankers’ Association, Mr Predee Daochai, in attendance as guests of honour.

The Lao business delegation was led by Mr. Thanongsinh Kanlagna, Asean Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Member of Laos and Executive Vice President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), and Mrs Chanthachone Vongsay, Asean Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Member of Laos and Vice President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), with the support of the Regional Economic Integration of Laos into Asean, Trade and Entrepreneurship Development (RELATED) Project of the German Development Cooperation.

ASEAN businesses competed in the following categories this year: 17 Priority Integration Sectors (Agri-based, ICT, Aviation, Infrastructure, Automotive, Logistics, Electronics, Retail, Entergy, Rubberbased, Finance, Textiles, Fisheries, Tourism, Food & Beverage, Wood-based and Healthcare), SME Excellence (Corporate Social Responsibility, Employment, Growth and Innovation), Family Business, Young Entrepreneur, Sustainable Social Enterprise, Green Enterprise, Startup and Innovation Driven Entrepreneur, Skill Development, Women Entrepreneur, Friends of ASEAN and Digitalised MSME.

The 2019 ABA Gala Night was a major triumph and a ray of hope for the Lao business world. In total, eight Lao enterprises were awarded nine ASEAN Business Awards in seven respective categories. The winners were (i) BIZGITAL Company Limited (Most Promising Digitalised MSME), (ii) K&C Group (Women Entrepreneur), (iii) Khammany General Service (Young Entrepreneur), (iv) Phouvong Lao Retail Corporate Co., Ltd. (Family Business and SME Excellence Sector – Growth), (v) LOCA Ride Hailing Service (Start-up and Innovation Driven Enterprise), (vi) Pakxong Agriculture Development Export-Import Co., Ltd. (Priority Integration Sector Mid-Tier – Agribased), (vii) Lomakham Drinking Water and Ice Factory (SME Excellence Sector – Corporate Social Responsibility), and (viii) Asean Contact Centre (SME Excellence Sector – Employment).

Laos can be especially proud that Phouvong Lao Retail Corporate Co., Ltd., Lomakham Drinking Water and Ice Factory and the Asean Contact Centre were honored as ASEAN Winners in the categories of Family Business as well as SME Excellence CSR and SME Excellence Employment.

Mr. Thanongsinh Kanlagna expressed confidence that all Lao winners of the ABA will continue to thrive in their respective industries in the future, as they offer great products and services. Through his position as ASEAN BAC Council Member and ABA Lead for Laos, he had the privilege to meet and work with many local entrepreneurs, who – no matter if small or big – have all shaped Lao business and society through their keen eye for innovation, tireless spirit and exemplary vision. Yet not many of them are well-known and promoted within Laos, let alone at the ASEAN level.

Mr. Thanongsinh thus hopes to bring more successful Lao businesses onto the ABA stage, encouraging them to be better prepared for the intensifying disruptions to our traditional business ecosystem and way of doing business.

This will require companies to upskill the Lao workforce, search for alternative approaches to access finance, and include the application of innovation and technology into their business models and future strategies.