Asia-Pacific National Innovation Systems
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Myanmar Business & Development Week:
APCTT-ESCAP Sessions

23-24 September 2013
Yangon, Myanmar

Lead organizers
Trade and Investment Division (TID), ESCAP
ESCAP Business Advisory Council
Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry

Brief Report
Co-organizers and Partners
More than 30 global, international and national organizations.

Background
The Government of Myanmar is seeking to keep up the positive momentum of the country’s recent and ongoing fast pace of political and economic liberalization, as well as its increased level of openness towards the international community. In order to do so, the Myanmar Government has rightly recognized the importance of the private sector as an integral part for Myanmar’s further socio-economic development, particularly the catalytic potential of business and investment as contributing forces for sustainable and inclusive growth, employment creation, including for women and the youth, income generation, and poverty alleviation. It is against this backdrop that the ESCAP secretariat, ESCAP Business Advisory Council (EBAC) and the United Nations Trade and Productive Capacity Cluster jointly organized a five-day Myanmar Business and Development Week with and at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) in Yangon from 23 to 27 September 2013.

APCTT-ESCAP assists member countries in strengthening their national technology innovation systems under its focus area of science, technology and innovation, and therefore played a part in the Myanmar Business and Development Week. The Centre, in cooperation with the Trade and Investment Division of ESCAP, organized two technical sessions in the area of techno-entrepreneurship and policy and institutional framework required to enhance the technological capacity of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Myanmar.

Objectives

  • Promote the concept and approaches of national innovation system (NIS) for national socio-economic development; and
  • Facilitate sharing approaches of and lessons learnt from Asian countries in promoting techno-entrepreneurship and enhancing the technological capacity of SMEs.

Major Outputs
The first Myanmar Business and Development Week was aimed to strengthen the capacity of Myanmar’s business sector and to equip the Government of Myanmar to create a supportive business environment to nurture and strengthen SMEs. The first of the two sessions that APCTT-ESCAP organized and conducted at this event focused on the “Promotion of Techno-entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation to Enhance SME Competitiveness: Best Practices”, while the second session deliberated on the “National Innovation Systems – Policies, Institutional Framework and Programmes to Enhance the Technological Capacity of SMEs”.

These two sessions allowed representatives of emerging enterprises, government agencies and academics to gain detailed knowledge on techno-entrepreneurship and the need to strengthen technology innovation system in Myanmar. In this regard, experiences and approaches of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Government of Thailand were shared by an expert invited by APCTT-ESCAP. The group discussions provided the participants an informal working environment and an opportunity to network and discuss their views and potential approaches to strengthen the national innovation system (NIS).

APCTT-ESCAP also participated in other sessions organized by TID, which included keynote addresses on finance and technology development, a showcase of Myanmar’s young entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurship development for SMEs. It gained an understanding of the existing commercial and institutional environment for supporting innovation and technology transfer in Myanmar and this would be useful in organizing and designing a capacity building activity that APCTT-ESCAP plans to organize during the year 2014.

See Annex I for the programme and presentations.

Participants
Resource persons invited by APCTT-ESCAP from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in India and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Government of Thailand, as well as APCTT-ESCAP staff members made presentations on specific topics and participated in the sessions. More than 80 participants from industries, academia, R&D institutions and various government departments and ministries participated in the APCTT-ESCAP sessions.