By APEC Secretariat
SINGAPORE – The annual APEC App Challenge is now inviting talented software developers and designers from across the APEC region to digitally enable micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and underrepresented communities and encourage participation in global trade.
The region-wide coding competition, a joint initiative of US APEC 2023 and the APEC Secretariat with support from the Asia Foundation and Google, challenges participating teams to build an online tool, platform, mobile site, or app that will help engage MSMEs and underrepresented communities, and benefit in global digitally-enabled trade.
In most APEC economies, over 98 percent of enterprises are considered to be small businesses which contribute to 60 percent of total employment. A report by the APEC Policy Support Unit showed that less than 2 percent of all small businesses export goods and most of these businesses are in the services sector.
“The internet and digital tools have created new opportunities to build a more inclusive global trade landscape,” said Dr Rebecca Sta Maria, executive director of the APEC Secretariat.
“Digitally enabled trade significantly reduces the cost of internationalization, allowing MSMEs and traditionally underrepresented communities to connect with global customers and expand beyond their home markets,” Dr Sta Maria added.
As the host of APEC 2023, the United States aims to create a resilient and sustainable future for all through its three policy priorities: interconnected, innovative, and inclusive.
“One of our priorities this year is to ensure that economic prosperity is inclusive and broad-based through the promotion of digital trade, e-commerce, and emerging technologies,” said Matt Murray, US senior official for APEC.
“The APEC App Challenge showcases the role of digital technologies in opening up opportunities for our small businesses and underrepresented communities.”
This year’s app challenge will be a hybrid coding event that will include a virtual portion for all participants and an in-person component for selected finalists.
Teams with the most compelling application will continue developing their solution through an in-person pitching event in Seattle this coming August, during the Third APEC senior officials’ meeting and related meetings.
The winners will be announced at the upcoming APEC small and medium enterprises ministerial meeting and will bring home a USD5,000 cash prize for the first place winner, and US$ 3,000 and US$ 2,000 for the second and third place winner, respectively.
Applicants should form teams comprising of two to four members representing the same APEC economy. There is no limit to the total number of teams from any one economy. Interested applicants should submit their application before Friday, 19 May at 23:59 Singapore or GMT+7.