November 10, 2021
COVID-19 and its influence on business digitalization in Myanmar

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many small and growing businesses (SGBs) and intermediaries to adopt digital transformation. In the past year, we hosted our first-ever Digitalization Leaning Lab Series, training our members on how to create value proposition, how to define what you need to deliver digitally, and how to visualize, measure, and iterate your digital strategy with support from Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.

We featured ANDE members and their entrepreneurs in our communications series ‘Exploring Digitalization Journeys’. This blog meets ONOW Myanmar, a social enterprise committed to delivering financially sustainable positive change in the lives of the entrepreneurs they work with, to hear how they digitally support entrepreneurs in Myanmar.

Yar Su Thit Bakery, a family business that distributes consumer goods and cosmetics since 2016

U Tun Tun Zaw, an owner of Yar Su Thit Bakery, decided to digitize his business before the COVID-19 pandemic. In early 2020, he started using the Barcode Inventory System which made it easy to monitor the stock and assisted him in making proper business decisions straightaway. Regarding marketing strategies, he used a Facebook Page to promote his goods. He also worked with banks and mobile wallet applications to become an agent for transfer services, payment services, and money orders. He also plans to use accounting software to track his cash flow.

U Tun Tun Zaw joined a couple of digitalization workshops including “Google My Business” hosted by ONOW where he learned how to register and identify his store’s location on the Google Map. As he prepares to create a web page for Yar Su Thit Bakery, he acknowledges that the internet connection in Myanmar is unstable and most of his customers are not familiar with making orders either from a website or a Facebook page. Thus, besides business skills training and business loans, a fair level of digital literacy needs to be achieved for both clients and themselves to enable the adoption of this technology.

Ma Moe Myat Myat Thein, who teaches Business Courses in Myanmar

Ma Moe Myat Myat Thein switched all of her classes into online classes and started using Digitalization tools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It wasn’t an option! There was no other way I could do it at that time. Some English classes and universities switched to online courses so I just also tried it. Besides, at the time there were a lot of risks that I took since it was a whole new experience for me.”

Ma Moe Myat Myat Thein joined some webinars and free courses from many organizations including ‘Financial Literacy Online Learning Festival’ webinar series from Phandeeyar Institute which ONOW partly co-hosted. During this pandemic and coup situation in Myanmar, marketing is seen as the most difficult challenge since entrepreneurs could not boost their services. In order to support her business better, she needs the easier loan process, format for business plan writing, and support on laws and regulations online for MSMEs.

ONOW Myanmar also presented in our ANDE East and Southeast Asia Digitalization Learning Lab #5 – How to Choose the Right Tools, highlighting how ONOW selected and made decisions on implementing tools. Watch the full webinar here.

If you’re interested in learning more about digitalization, check out our ANDE Asia Digitalization Matchmaking Expo to meet and talk to digital solutions vendors and find the right tools for your organization. See you on 30th November 2021!