ADB, Japan Announce $3M Project to Boost Small Businesses in Mon State

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 16 December 2015

RANGOON — Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have combined to fund a US$3 million project that aims to boost incomes and opportunities for small businesses in four Mon State townships.

The grant, issued by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and administered by ADB, will support work skills and business management training for people selling crafts and local food in Chaungzon, Moulmein, Kyaikto and Mudon townships of Mon State, according to an ADB press release issued on Wednesday.

“In Mon state 55% of the population is self-employed with a large number of families selling agricultural products and crafts but these small businesses are having a limited impact on reducing household poverty,” said Uzma Hoque, Senior Social Development Specialist with ADB, in the press release.

“The project aims to identify new craft and food product lines, provide the technical, business and management skills to exploit them, and help small businesses, particularly those run by women and the poor, access affordable credit and link to new markets…”

Min Min Nwe, deputy coordinator of the Mon Social Development Network, said he welcomed the project as there were limited employment opportunities in his native state.

“Many young Mon people are going to Thailand to look for jobs as we have a lack of job vacancies here. If this aid can assist local businesses, it will be good for our state,” he said.

“Some small businesses can’t continue long as they need micro finance. They can’t take loans from banks so, if this aid can help them, they will be able to continue their work.”

The project’s stated aim is to provide livelihood opportunities for some 900 household across 12 villages in the four Mon State townships, with 60 percent of recipients slated to be women.

The development bank cited the tourism sector as offering potential opportunities for local businesses and aimed to help local entrepreneurs maximize their effectiveness in the industry.

The ADB said that alongside its assistance, Burma’s government and “communities” would provide support worth around $450,000 for the project, which is scheduled to run until December, 2019.