Posted on February 07, 2020

Ooredoo Myanmar and United Nations Development Programme Myanmar launched the “Innovation Hub – Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals” (the Innovation Hub).

Strategically located at the Ooredoo Headquarters in Yangon, the Innovation Hub provides aspiring young entrepreneurs with a dedicated facility, technical support and networks to help them develop and market their products and services that can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through digital innovation in Myanmar. The opening ceremony brought together representatives from a wide range of organizations including governments, private sector, development partners and NGOs as well as young start-ups and students.

Representatives from UNDP and Ooredoo emphasized the spirit of innovation, inclusive growth and the key role of information and communications technology (ICT) in addressing many challenges faced by Myanmar. The inauguration of the Innovation Hub is a significant milestone underpinned by a commitment of the Ooredoo-UNDP partnership to support the efforts of the government, private sector, civil society and development partners on accelerating SDG achievement in Myanmar. Ooredoo Myanmar and UNDP Myanmar signed an MoU in 2018, forming a partnership to unlock the potential of ICT for the achievement of the SDGs in Myanmar.

The partnership has successfully undertaken a number of unique and productive initiatives with a focus on aspiring youth and women in Myanmar including two editions of the Hackathon since 2018. The hackathon platform has provided Myanmar’s youth with an inclusive innovation platform to present their mobile app prototypes and business ideas while cultivating young entrepreneurs through financial and technical support which has been awarded to the winning participants. 

The Innovation Hub grants free and regular access to all startups and to-be-startups selected through the Ooredoo-UNDP Hackathon series. The Innovation Hub’s package of mentorship and incubation support based on global good practices enables budding entrepreneurs to innovate, collaborate, upscale and grow into successful social enterprises. Learning advanced ICT skills and business models through specialized training programs and networking opportunities, the Hub members explore their own ways to contribute to the SDGs and respond to development challenges in areas including climate change, education, rural development, and women’s empowerment.

Speaking at the launch event,  Rajeev Sethi, Ooredoo Myanmar’s CEO said: “Myanmar’s talented young entrepreneurs are already using their skills to tackle important social and economic issues in Myanmar.  Today we are excited to create new opportunities for people to deliver positive impact.  We have seen a lot of progress and promising results throughout our partnership with the UNDP.  The series of Hackathons we have run together have grown to be bigger and better each year, with participants finding innovative solutions to Myanmar’s development challenges.  With the Innovation Hub we will offer these aspiring social entrepreneurs as well as Myanmar’s developer community a dedicated space to develop their innovative ideas and help drive digital innovation forwards.”  

“Innovation happens when we successfully integrate viewpoints – and that integration benefits us, not in my way, not in your way, but in a unique, inclusive way unfettered by existing frameworks. I am confident that the Innovation Hub will empower Myanmar’s youth not only with technical facilities, but also with a truly stimulating learning environment for integration by combining different sectors and encouraging female and youth leadership. I believe this space can play a vital role in achieving the SDGs in Myanmar, and I look forward to seeing the launch of products and services later this year,” said Gordon Johnson, UNDP Resident Representative.

source: The Peninsula