Although no dedicated policy exists to support IBs and awareness on the topic is still low, there is interest from the government and local actors in IB models and progress has already been achieved. A 2018 study found that IB is a relevant and growing concept in the country; 56 companies with potential IB models were identified and, of these, 21 had innovative models, initiatives and activities with scale potential.
CSR is also not widespread in Myanmar but there are organisations dedicated to promoting CSR. Companies investing in Myanmar must now submit business plans that include commitments to CSR. SE is a fairly new concept and very few firms recognize themselves as SEs.
Government support to IB
Establishing conducive rules, regulations and definitions
Myanmar is promoting IB through the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA), a government agency under the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development. In 2018, DICA, and the DaNa Facility, published the study “Inclusive Business in Myanmar: An Agenda to Catalyse Social Impact”. The study proposed a framework for IB to guide reforms. Also in 2018, Myanmar launched the IB/Impact Investing Steering Group – a public-private activity to promote and guide IB/impact investing development. The group is expected to provide a strong platform to roll out the various elements of the Framework for IB.
Enhancing access to financial resources and providing financial incentives
Access to finance is key for Myanmar and the country is drafting several frameworks aimed at regulating the sector and fostering investment. Several programmes have also been implemented by the Myanmar Government and development partners. Efforts, however, have focused on financial inclusion, access to finance for MSMEs and microfinance. Limited access to finance is still a major barrier for social and inclusive entrepreneurship. The recent Responsible Business Fund (RBF), implemented in Myanmar as part of the Danish Development Assistance to the country, provided MMK 12.5 billion for (3 years) ‘Challenge Fund’ to “increase the competitiveness and responsible behaviour of Myanmar enterprises” by providing partial grants to SMEs for the implementation of innovative projects. The DaNa Facility, a private sector development programme, also opened a grant window called “IB Ecosystem Window” and provided grant funding to two organisations to help accelerate the growth and amplify social impact of 20 potential IB.
Providing information and raising awareness
The IB in Myanmar Report has formed the basis for several activities, including capacity building and ASEAN IB sessions. At the Myanmar Entrepreneurship Summit in December 2018, DaNa presented the IB idea. DaNa supports and collaborates with key government agenci es and business associations to build the IB ecosystem in Myanmar. In 2019, the IB Steering Group and DaNa, as its secretariat, will reach out to different regions, potentially through the Myanmar Young Entrepreneurs Association, to raise awareness on IB.
The Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) aims to explore the possibility of setting up IB desks in DICA and other agencies, and eventually developing accreditation criteria and investment incentives for IB. Proposed measures in support of IBs include:
- Ongoing activities of the Inclusive Business/Impact Investing Steering Group
- Wide-ranging capacity development activities for key players to further promote IB
- Awareness raising activities on inclusive business
- Setting up IB support desks in key government agencies and business associations
- Explore setting up an IB accreditation system and social impact measurement programmes
- To conduct research on appropriate incentive structures to further stimulate the growth of IBs
- To catalyse greater impact investing activities in Myanmar, including through an investment portal
More information (page 63 in PDF)