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Striving for Sustainable Impact: The Role of Entrepreneurship in Closing Gender Gaps in Myanmar

Striving for Sustainable Impact: The Role of Entrepreneurship in Closing Gender Gaps in Myanmar

TOKYO, Sept. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- On September 15, 2020, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF), Emerging Markets Entrepreneurs (EME), and Support Her Enterprise (SHE) launched

The Role of Entrepreneurship in Closing Gender Gaps in Myanmar, a new report focusing on innovative business models to improve women's and girl's livelihood in Myanmar.

Based on a series of interviews with startups in Myanmar, this report lays out the resources required by impact-orientated innovative startups and small growing businesses (SGBs) to develop their business while addressing gender gaps in Myanmar in a sustainable way. This is one of the first reports to capture the potential of startups to contribute to social change and close gender gaps in Myanmar.

Download the report here:

The report showcases ten innovative startups, 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 report 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 startups but also investors and ecosystem builders on how they can support startups and SGBs to maximize innovative solutions.

The collaboration for this report is based on the women's empowerment framework outlined in the report "A Gender-inclusive Southeast Asia through Entrepreneurship," and demonstrates SPF's commitment to explore the potential of entrepreneurship to spur innovation and create sustainable impact and close gender gaps in developing countries like Myanmar.

Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF): 
SPF is a Japanese private foundation established in 1986 to enhance international cooperation. SPF has set its focus on five priority goals from a mid- to long-term perspective: (1) further strengthening the Japan–U.S. relationship, (2) expanding Japan's presence in Asia, (3) enhancing understanding of and relationships with countries in the Middle East, (4) establishing ocean governance, and (5) empowering women to achieve gender equality in society.

In 2017, SPF announced the formation of the Asia Women Impact Fund, which aims to invest up to 100 million USD from its endowment to work toward a future where all women in Asia are empowered to reach their full potential. The fund aims to realize this vision by making investments to achieve favorable outcomes for women across Asia and to support women entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia. For more information, visit

Emerging Markets Entrepreneurs (EME):
EME was established in October 2018 and operates exclusively in Myanmar where it has invested in nine startups. EME was founded by UMJ Ikeya Investment, Emerging Markets Group Holdings and Dr. Yit Fan Wong in addition to three established regional angel investors and has cornerstone investment from the Dutch Good Growth Fund managed by Triple Jump. EME drives sustainable economic development by fostering and investing in Myanmar's next generation of market-defining startups.

EME invests between USD 50-250K into early-stage Myanmar startups. The company is sector agnostic, focusing on great founders who can drive innovation to scale and redefine mass markets. With a full-time team on the ground, EME provides significant post-investment support across a broad range of business areas including finance, marketing, operations, and strategy. EME often invests multiple times in its portfolio companies, helping founders to focus on their business rather than fundraising and helping startups reach inflection points and scalability.

Support Her Enterprise (SHE):
SHE Investments is a social enterprise based in Cambodia, which designs and delivers the first and only business incubator and accelerator programs for women-led MSMEs in the country, using a gender and culture lens. SHE works closely with government, non-government, private sector, local and international organizations to build support structures for female entrepreneurs to scale and enter the formal economy. With over 300 incubator, accelerator and investment readiness graduates to date, and more than 1,000 women reached through other training programs, workshops and events, SHE is constantly developing innovative new tools for women entrepreneurs, and delivering programs across the country. In 2020, SHE has begun working internationally for the first time, beginning with Myanmar.

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