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VU completes first workshop on digital capacity of small business

 Digital tech
Business researchers explore technology use with ASEAN colleagues

VU College of Business researchers recently completed the first of several scheduled workshops for the Australia–ASEAN Council focusing on the digital capacity of small business.

Select academics from Mahidol University International College (Thailand), De La Salle University (Philippines) and University Malaysia Terengganu (Malaysia) attended the week-long intensive workshops. They explored small business and ICT knowledge transfer — with the aim of fostering ASEAN Academic Partnerships.

The $75,000 project, funded by the Australia-ASEAN Council of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, offered opportunities for small-business owners to present first-hand experiences of ICT use within their firms. Participants outlined the strategies, benefits and challenges associated with using digital technology.

Presentations dealt with a range of relevant topics:

  • social media (Western Gems Tours)
  • using Cloud-Based Field Data Collection (Valenza Engineering Pty Ltd)
  • technology in farming (Seasons Farming)
  • digital disruption in the print industry (Pictureworks Group).

The group conducted several site visits as part of the workshop, allowing members to gain direct insights into how technology assisted or impeded small businesses in their daily operations.

On the final day, ACC board member Lesley Alway spoke to the group on the project’s important people-to-people linkages. These links are expected to provide a legacy that will extend beyond the project and foster cooperation between participating Asian universities and Victoria University.

An information toolkit that will serve as the basis for shorter reciprocal workshops in the three participating Asian countries was a major outcome of the workshop. The next workshop will be held in Malaysia in late April.

ASEAN is a regional organisation comprising ten states in Southeast Asia.

The VU project team were Dr Carmine Sellitto, Associate Professor Stephen Burgess, and Dr Rafael Paguio (all from the University’s College of Business).

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