100 Businesses for Financial Inclusion

Earlier this month, in a small community center in Yangon, Myanmar, ONOW staff were thrilled to award startup loans to these women, surpassing 100 enterprise loans in total since we began in 2012. In Hlaing Thar Yar township, the most populated, and poorest township in Yangon, most women work long hours, 6 days a week in dangerous factories nearby. Many of these women will use their loans to sell clothing or other items to their coworkers in the factories. With our help, we believe that each of them can expand their sales territory and reach an income level that allows them to leave the hardship and uncertainty of factory work to concentrate on their businesses and take control of their financial future. Of the 108 total loans awarded in nearly four years, 34 of these loans have been to youth and 53 have been to women. All of them lacked the necessary support and access to capital to launch a viable small enterprise. We are so proud of their dedication and hard work in order to complete our rigorous training. Over 250 people have entered our programs over the years, and nearly half, including these women, have graduated with a business launch.

Financial Inclusion, Financial Literacy, and Access to Finance

Moving into the future, financial inclusion will become more important to Myanmar’s successful advance. More women and youth can benefit from access to business development support than ever before. New enterprises change the financial landscape of their communities. The entrepreneurship and management training, creative skills development, financial literacy tools, and access to finance that Opportunities NOW provides are more essential than ever. Here’s to the next 100 Entrepreneurs!