Entrepreneurs and investors gathered for one of Myanmar’s latest and most exciting ventures, Micro Empire Angel Group, at its inaugural event in Yangon on Friday.
Set to become a bimonthly gathering, the event at Fuji Japanese restaurant in Kamayut Township saw talks from Micro Empire founder and executive director Ryan Russell and Robbert Groenen, country manager for investment firm One to Watch and Rockstart Impact Myanmar.
Ryan, whose company has guided hundreds of Myanmar businesspeople since 2012, is forming a robust team of 10-15 local and international investors willing to commit US$10,000 every year to groundbreaking enterprises.
He is also equipping promising entrepreneurs with the tools they need for success; providing financial training, registration and license support, legal services, and marketing to help Myanmar fulfill its incredible business potential.
Micro Empire Angel Group will not charge membership fees for its first year. In partnership with the Seed Global Fund Canada, Micro Empire has already developed businesses in the garment, food, organic produce, and glass fibre boat sectors among others.
The angel group will focus on food processing, small factories, packaging, blue ocean business, and, of course, great entrepreneurs.
“These businesses are really exciting to me because they are the backbone of Myanmar’s economy and the next step for it to really grow,” Ryan told the crowd.
Each investment will involve two to three investors and take about 30 percent of the business, a smart money model that spreads risk and increases chances of high profits. Mentoring and guidance will steer every venture.
Once the business becomes sizeable, Robbert can use his experience with 100-day accelerator program Rockstart Impact and One to Watch in order to further develop the operation, with investments of $100,000-$500,000.
Rockstart Impact accelerated 29 companies in Nepal over the past three years, creating positive change with initiatives involving solar energy, roads designed for safety, and machines in mines that can replace, and ultimately, help stop child labor.
Robbert, who will lead investor training for the Micro Empire Angel Group, said One to Watch investments bolster sectors such as education, health care and food safety.
“All the companies that we are investing in have both a good business case and a positive social and environmental impact. Both are as important,” he said.
The evening served as a bridge between entrepreneurs who know how to improve Myanmar and investors who want to make a big difference—the beginning of fruitful collaborations that will not only create lucrative returns but also improve people’s lives in Myanmar.