The Role of Entrepreneurship in Closing Gender Gaps in Myanmar

Category Special Report 
Year of Publication 2020.09
Author/Editor Emerging Markets Entrepreneurs / The Sasakawa Peace Foundation

◆About the Report◆

Often referred to as Asia’s last “frontier market”, Myanmar is a country experiencing rapid socio-economic change as a result of private sector expansion and entrepreneurial ecosystem development.  Entrepreneurship is a key driver for economic progress with recent reports indicating that over 95% of businesses in Myanmar operate on a small scale (also known as Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) or small, growing, businesses (SGBs)) and 75% of the country’s employment relies on micro and small enterprises.  Furthermore, for many demographic groups, including women, youth and disadvantaged groups, entrepreneurship provides an opportunity for livelihood development and a means for poverty reduction.  However, what is the role of entrepreneurship in closing gender gaps in Myanmar?

To explore this concept further, SPF, together with partners, Emerging Market Entrepreneurs Myanmar (EME) and
SHE investments, published this research report to understand the gender gaps that currently exist in Myanmar and the potential role that innovative businesses can play, by leveraging their strengths to innovate and develop sustainable and scalable solutions, to support women’s livelihoods in Myanmar.

The report showcases ten innovative businesses, outlining their motivation, vision, management structures, and business models used to drive development of enterprises, products, and services to serve women employees and customers. Additionally, the study takes initial steps to understand the needs of single or zero employee women business owners who embrace entrepreneurialism as a form of necessity-driven livelihood in rural Myanmar. Finally, in order to bring more positive impact to women and girls in Myanmar, the report offers recommendations not only for innovative businesses but also investors and ecosystem builders on how they can support women-focused businesses to develop products and services that promote women’s livelihoods development in Myanmar.



Executive Summary
  Striving Towards Gender Equality in Myanmar
  Women’s Empowerment Framework for Southeast Asia
  Why Entrepreneurship for Closing Gender Gaps?
  Purpose of This Study
Identifying Gender Gaps in Myanmar
Economic Empowerment
  Personal Safety And Mobility
  Formal Representation 
  Decision Making
Survey: Innovative Business Addressing Gender Gaps
Case Studies Of Startups Working Toward Closing Gender Gaps In Myanmar
Survey: Women Business Owners In Rural Myanmar

Appendix I: Advanced Recommendations For Establishing A Long-Term Support Vehicle
Appendix Ii: Advanced Recommendations For Creating A Formal Network Of Paid Mentors
Business Year
Business Year
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