The small to medium sized business sector in Myanmar is large and accounts for roughly 90% of all businesses in the country. Despite this, the sector is still very informal. Htet Tayza comments on recent observations from experts, which suggest the sector needs to become more formalised in order to prosper.
Improvements to be made
In an article in the Myanmar Times U Myint Zaw, chair of Ground Solution Development, an organisation which offers small business training, said that the majority of SMEs “are unregistered and lack formal procedures, like correct accounting processing and an understanding of marketing.”
He continues: “Businessmen at Myanmar SMEs do not act within a legal framework and need to support to move from informal to formal businesses.
They need help with networking and developing proper forms of administration. This is important if SMEs are to develop.”
Training is important, but U Myint Zaw notes that access to finance at a reasonable rate is one of the largest issues affecting SMEs in Myanmar.
There is also issues surrounding stable utilities affecting SMEs’ productivity in Myanmar. Ma Tin Myat Htet, client service director at AZURI Creative, a full-service advertising firm that works with SMEs, says:
‘’I don’t know about the new policy (referring to a plan developed by the government in July) but we need better-quality infrastructure, as currently it makes things very costly for businesses.”
Ma Tin Myat Htet also noted struggles with maintaining staff, saying:
“We face difficulties with our staff. We can’t afford large salaries, so people come and learn from us and then they move to a big organisation that can afford to pay more.”
Htet Tayza comments
As Myanmar opens up more and more to direct investment from foreign companies, challenges are arising alongside opportunities such as increased competition.
Despite this, there is still a definite opportunity for SMEs in Myanmar to capitalise on this investment, but they will need help in order to formalise and then, in turn, capitalise on investment.
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