The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is causing not only a global health emergency but also a global economic slowdown. Trade, investment, production, and employment are all affected and it has led to having an impact on our clients’ business. Therefore, this crisis has forced us all to adapt. That goes for our clients, too. In just the past months, our clients have had to change how they operate.
U Kaung Htike Kyaw, one of our individual lending clients, runs a Yangon-based small business that produces body care products including a wide range of soaps and only gel-type hand sanitizer. When the pandemic arrived, he began to produce more of different types of hand sanitizer (like liquid and spray-type) in order to adapt to this difficult situation. He produced only one size of hand sanitizer before Covid-19; now various sizes are available. What’s more, he has expanded his market through digital/online selling. He adjusted his business operations to be flexible and adaptable to the market and his customers’ new and evolving needs.
Another inspiring story is that Daw Amar Myint, a small restaurant owner, shared how she is coping and operating her business to withstand this downturn. When the pandemic seriously hit her daily sales due to having to close the restaurant, she adopted a new business model and began delivering lunch boxes and selling them through social media (Facebook). As a result, her sales amid Covid is much higher than before. She could also give a job to her son who became jobless due to the Covid. She can now also better estimate future income and minimize waste based on monthly pre-orders.
Our clients aren’t celebrities, but are inspiring in their own way. Their resourcefulness and ability to create opportunities from a difficult situation are truly admirable, and demonstrate the resiliency of Myanmar MSMEs.