Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Myanmar stories: A successful Myanmar entrepreneur

Jan 26, 2011


I met this successful Myanmar entrepreneur in Khin Khin's office today. Khin Khin and he were keying in employment data for S pass Myanmar prospect as he waited for his employment agency licence to be given to him 2 weeks later.

He started by giving entrepreneurship lectures some 10 years ago, charging around $10/person/hour. I remember one of my old clients doing the same and asked him: "Did you rent an office in Excelsior Hotel building to conduct lectures?" He laughed: "Yes." Now he has set up an Asian restaurant in Yangon and is in the midst of a building development project with Singapore partners.

Be focused on one aspect

"Why do you need to wait for 2 weeks to get your licence?" I asked him. Asking is when one learns. "Normally, the MOM renews the licence without you having to wait."

He said: "I have set up a private limited company. So, everything starts from the beginning."

"So, you have Singapore partners," I guessed. "What is your share of the company?"

"30%," he said. "The two Singapore partners take 70% but I do all the operational work running around."

"Why will you be doing all the work and give your partners 70%?" I asked. "It does not make sense to me. You should be the one getting the major share. Are you paid a salary to be the working partner?"

This where the financial structure is important. How much to pay a working partner equitably without exhausting the $50,000 all 3 parties had put in. Real capital, not just paper ones.

"No salary. I get $1,500 per case closed." The fee for securing an S Pass is $3,500. So, $2,000 goes to the company and he still gets 30%. This sounds OK to me.

"I just can't believe that the two Singapore partners are sleeping partners," I enquired. It is possible but why would this smart entrepreneur give them 70% of the shares? He would have his capital since he had been working for some years. And judging from his looks of a man who looks well fed, I know he would not have problems raising $50,000 or less. At 3 closings a month, he would have an income of $4,500. He would have other sources of income, being a diligent, friendly entrepreneur.

Why give 70% to 2 sleeping partners. Khin Khin supplied the answer. The partners (probably realtors) have connections with Singapore employers in the industrial park. They provided the important link as there are more prospective Myanmar employees than employers.

"Don't you provide Myanmar maids?" I asked.
"No," he said. "Income from one S pass is equal to 5 maids. And much less people problems."

So a higher value prospective employee and a private limited and collaboration with Singaporeans are some factors of success for this Myanmar entrepreneur. He invited me to dine at his Asian restaurant in Yangon.

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