If kids are the future of a country, young people are its present. According to the recent 2014 census, about one-third of the total population of Myanmar (51 million) are between the ages of 15 and 35 years. As seen in the population pyramid below, there is a bulge in the middle portion making it the shape of a pot. Unless we can make good use of this working population now, we are never sure when we will have the same opportunity again in the future.
Unfortunately, many youths — despite their formidable productivity potential — are either unemployed or underemployed. There are many reasons for this and one of them is the lack of job opportunities. For instance, in 2016, there is a negative balance in trading in Myanmar which can be inferred as fewer productions of commodities than needed.
That being said, a question “how can we create jobs for young people?” arises. Part of the problem could be solved by the idea of “entrepreneurship.” Within this IT era, the traditional method of doing business is barely enough to achieve a sustainable economic growth. Problems we are facing each day need to be addressed by pragmatic and innovative methods; they do not need to be earth-shattering though.
The very idea of entrepreneurship is not modern because it has existed in the past; however, it needs to cherished and promoted nowadays more than ever. The promising fact is that there is a robust growth of social enterprises in fields like banking, travelling, media, online education and healthcare with the help of mobile technology and startup incubators like phandeeyar. Because of these self- employed business models, one can easily get tasks like booking a hotel or transferring money done through a phone in a short amount of time. Obviously, there are still a lot of barriers for these kinds of booming new business to fully grow such as lack of seed funding, foreign investment, and government support.
Nowadays, some local charity organizations are transforming into social enterprises so that they can continue providing benevolent services to the community in need. One of them is “Youth Doctors HealthCare Group,” a health care organization managed by young doctors with the aim of achieving quality primary healthcare in rural villages. It was established in January 2011 and after running the volunteering activities for 6 years in a row, funding becomes one of the issues to handle in order to keep doing its much-needed programs. Dr. Hsu Myat, the administrator of this youth organization, said, “We need to generate income in order to provide free health care for needy patients. We are going to adopt a fee4free model soon.”
Myanmar’s young people are nowhere near to be incapable of making big things. With duly mentorship support and government cooperation, youth entrepreneurship in our country has so much room for improvement which can play a critical role in the economic development of the newly democratic country.
https://tradingeconomics.com/myanmar/imports assessed on 14 August 2017
http://myanmar.unfpa.org/news/making-most-myanmar%E2%80%99s-youth-future-development- country assessed on 14 August 2017
https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/feb/13/myanmar-yangon-tech-pioneers- startups-apps-sdgs assessed on 14 August 2017
By Thein Min Swe, ASEAN Correspondent from Myanmar