MoCOM and UNDP Myanmar aims to empower the MSMEs, young innovators, entrepreneurs and ecosystem players to shape the future of E-Commerce in Myanmar

YANGON, Myanmar, November 11th , 2020 - The Ministry of Commerce, with support and funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Myanmar, is launching its first ever E-commerce Innovation Challenge. The “MoCOM E-Commerce Innovation Challenge” will take place between 11th November and 30th December. This Innovation Challenge is a timely initiative to accelerate implementation of activities under Goal 5.1 of the Myanmar COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan (CERP) and seeks to promote digital tools adoption to combat the pandemic, to accelerate economic recovery and spur innovation by talented youth and entrepreneurs.

The objective of this E-Commerce Innovation Challenge Grant is to empower the MSMEs and young innovators, entrepreneurs and ecosystem players to shape the future of E-Commerce in Myanmar, creating the conditions for an innovation-driven economy fully embracing the so-called “Industry 4.0 revolution”.

Following the confirmation of its first COVID-19 case in March, Myanmar has witnessed a surge towards digitalization as both businesses and consumers moved online to adapt quickly to Government’s containment measures. Recognizing that this trend is likely to go on into the future, and presents a unique opportunity to advance the development of Myanmar’s E-Commerce sector as well as in facilitating acceleration, inclusiveness and building resilience to the COVID-19, the Ministry of Commerce and the UNDP has come together to create a platform for E-Commerce ecosystem stakeholders to develop and implement innovative solutions to address challenges in Myanmar’s E-Commerce ecosystem.

The Innovation Challenge will be organised in two separate rounds. The first round will be focused on two themes – (i) Building Resilience against COVID-19, and (ii) MSMEs On-boarding and Acceleration (and formalisation), and the second round, (i) Women in E-Commerce, and (ii) Consumer rights & Online Intellectual Property. The total prize pool of these four challenges stands at USD 50,000 which the winners can leverage to implement the solutions in their businesses.

The Ministry of Commerce and the UNDP collectively call established E-Commerce platforms, critical E-Commerce Ecosystem Pillars businesses such as FinTech, Banks, Logistics, Education Tech and E-Commerce enablers in the community to join the Innovation Challenge. The registration for the 1st round will go live on the 11th November, 2020 and the registration for the 2nd round will be announced on the 23th November, 2020.

Quote from the Ministry of Commerce, U Aung Htoo, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Commerce Myanmar (MoCOM) (Chairperson, Digital Trade and E-Commerce Development Sub-Committee)

The Ministry of Commerce has been promoting a conducive and supportive E-Commerce ecosystem in Myanmar and engaging Government agencies, chambers of commerce, business associations and development partners to support implementation of digital transition goals. Whereas the on-going pandemic threatens the mere existence of scores of “offline” businesses, with a view to accelerate our digital transformation, the Ministry of Commerce has collaborated with development partners, such as UNDP Myanmar, to accelerate digital innovation and ensuring the innovation nurtures, boosts digitalisation and ultimately increases economic diversification for both domestically and cross-border. We hope to see more businesses adopting online tools as the key strategy towards building resilience to the COVID-19.

Quote from the UNDP Myanmar, Mr. Titon Mitra, Resident Representative of UNDP Myanmar

UNDP Myanmar is honored to partner with the Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar to organise the “MoCOM E-Commerce Innovation Challenge.’ The Challenge is an important initiative leveraging digital and technological innovations to support in building resilience to the COVID-19 in Myanmar, said UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Titon Mitra. UNDP, as part of the wider United Nations’ Socio-Economic Recovery Framework, is committed to support the Government and people of Myanmar in effectively building back better from COVID-19.

This challenge enables collaborations between organisations, corporate partners and local tech talents to collectively tackle important country development problems and leave a meaningful impact through innovative tech solutions. The challenge owner will own the IP and the project, which will be implemented afterwards through the support of the stakeholders. Thus, join this series of E-Commerce Challenges now to innovate your venture.

The Ministry of Commerce (MoCOM), and UNDP launched this round of E-Commerce Challenges starting on November 11, 2020. Participants are invited to visit  https://www.connectthedot.com.mm/ for more information.

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About the Ministry of Commerce

The Ministry of Commerce (MoCOM) plays a vital role to develop the national economy through trade. Its mission is to increase trade volume, to encourage private sector development in accordance with the market-oriented economic system, to expand market shares for Myanmar products in the world market through the collaboration with international organizations, to provide support for trade facilitation and To implement consumer rights and ensure products safety. Additionally, the Deputy Minister, Ministry of Commerce, has been serving as the chairperson of the Digital Trade and E-Commerce Development Sub-Committee, as the key sub-committee set up by the Digital Economy Development Committee (DEDC). The Ministry of Commerce is composed of the Minister Office, the Department of Trade, the Department of Consumer Affair and the Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization.

About UNDP

UNDP is on the ground in more than 170 countries, providing global perspective, local insight, technical assistance, policy advice and development support services. Our objective is to support countries to end extreme poverty, reduce inequality, and achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

UNDP has been providing development assistance to the people of Myanmar since the 1950s. Today, UNDP in Myanmar is committed to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and implementation of the SDGs by bringing in global best practices and international standards. With partnerships and tested approaches established by the UN system, we are building the capacity of the Government and people of Myanmar by providing support to collectively deliver on the 2030 Agenda to promote Myanmar’s development across the country’s economic, social and environmental priorities.

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