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Interview with Aye Aye Win Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Centre

Name : Aye Aye Win

Position : Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Centre

Aye Aye Win is the Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Centre which was established in 2012. SME Development Centre exists to help SMEs in Myanmar grow and prosper. It started with 37 staff but now, altogether 400 staff are working in 50 offices all over Myanmar. It provides various industrial and entrepreneurship trainings, technology transfer from different countries, financial support to SME owners as well as help out those who want to start their own business with start-up programs.

Can you tell me about yourself and what you do at SME Development Centre?

I am in charge for promoting our center as well as registering the private industries of Myanmar under Private Industry Law. I also work for the Directorate of Industrial Supervision and Inspection.

What is the mission of SME Development Centre?

Our mission is to develop the competitiveness and innovation of SMEs until they are capable enough to compete in the international market.

What was the biggest challenge SME Development Centre faced?

How did the Centre meet those challenges? Our main challenge was with capacity building, so we have to train staff in various fields. We started in 2012 with only 37 staff. At that time, our staff came from different factories and they had no knowledge of SMEs. So we started with capacity building. As for me, I had to do everything from the start; such as create a name for the Centre, establish the mission, vision, and implement them share knowledge about SMEs to the staff. I had to learn as well as work together with the staff to promote our Centre. In 2014, we had 50 offices all over the country.

How does the Centre contribute to Human Resources Development?

When we say SME owners, there are various kinds. There are people who had worked in foreign countries for 10 or 20 years and came back to establish an SME as well as traditional business owners who do not even have standard education but could establish business from pure experience or doing the family business yet cannot manage properly and there’s no growth. Therefore, we have to build up their capacity like we did with the staff but in a different way. We broaden their knowledge concerning finance and banking system such as credit rating. As SMEs in Myanmar are lacking a lot in terms of technology, we have established various industrial training centres all over the country and import technology from other countries such as Germany, China, Korea, and India. We also invite experts from other countries to conduct training.

What are the main projects of the Centre for the SME sector?

We conduct technology transfer for various fields, mainly agriculture. We are also trying to support the SMEs financially since they are going to need to buy machines to work out the new technologies. We also provide entrepreneurship training to build their capacity. Moreover, we conduct business matching in cooperation with organizations such as Japan-Myanmar Association.

How does the Centre give support to small and medium enterprises in Myanmar?

We focus on providing technology transfer, various trainings to build up capacity as well as financial support.

What is the biggest achievement of the Centre for the SME Sector in Myanmar?

The biggest achievement of the Centre would be the growth and development of small and medium enterprises in Myanmar. As we build up the capacity of local business owners who are doing business in traditional ways without proper knowledge of managing a business, they becomes aware of what they are doing wrong, their strengths and weaknesses, future opportunities, so that they can manage their business well. There has been growth in some business because of our capacity building and knowledge sharing.

In what ways does the development of SMEs contribute to the economic prosperity of the country?

As SMEs in Myanmar develop, there will be labour requirement and the job opportunities will increase. As they grow, the production will increase which is a great help to the country’s GDP. Similarly, as we could fulfill customers from local production, there will be less import product and import-export will be balanced. The development of SMEs is a great support for the country.

What advice would you give to the people thinking of starting their own business?

As for those thinking of starting their own business, I’d like to say that we could help them with their capacity building and knowledge of their respective industry. We can also help improve their innovation with business start-up programs.