Who Is Opportunities NOW
Opportunities NOW is an Entrepreneurship development system in Myanmar that seeks to reduce poverty by providing business training and mentoring in various stages of business startup. Opportunities NOW not only provides the educational framework to help a business grow, but also provides the capital that students need to succeed with their business through the ONOW Social Launch Fund. Opportunities NOW ran its first entrepreneurship training program in May 2012 and has grown rapidly since then.
Why Work With Youth?
Youth unemployment is a global concern. The ILO estimates 40 percent of the world’s 160 million jobless are between the ages of 15 and 24, and that 85 percent of the 1 billion in that age bracket live in developing countries. Global unemployment levels among youth are two to three times higher on average than they are for adults, and young people are more likely to work low-paying, temporary jobs that don’t offer security or employment benefits.
Youth in Myanmar experience not only the worldwide trend of increasing youth unemployment but also an additional lack of local opportunities. A recent survey found that 37% of the country’s workforce is unemployed, and this number goes as high as 70% in certain minority groups.
Poverty is unevenly distributed between rural and urban areas: 85% of poverty is found in rural areas and the disparity between states and regions vary from as high as 73% in Chin State to as low as 11% in Shan State
While the country is attracting increasingly substantial FDI and the economy growing at a fast pace, these benefits are not immediately translating into job creation. With no technical schools, ineffective university education and non-existent informal education, youth are unprepared to enter the workforce and often spend up to ten years after high-school without participating in the economy. This lack of a suitable framework for youth on the seam between work preparedness and job availability presents an opportunity for immediate action.