“I lend to help others out in the community. They can’t borrow for that low of an interest rate elsewhere.”
Hayma, the oldest of three siblings, was only 21 years old when her father passed away in 2003. The event occurred shortly after a crop failure and encumbered the family with a number of her father’s unsettled debts. With her younger brothers still in school, she went, as others in her village had, to Thailand in search of work. There, her friends connected her with a job working as a nanny for a well-to-do family in Chiang Mai. Now in her mid-thirties, she has begun to doubt whether she’ll ever marry and has developed new priorities for her future. She greatly admires the business acumen of her sister-in-law, who already runs a grocery and her courage to seek repayments on loans. She works hard to save money, hoping to build enough to start a grocery within ten years. She believes this would guarantee her a healthy livelihood into old age.
What types of financial decisions have Hayma made to save up for her own grocery and why have they not led her to business success?
by the numbers
Like Hayma, Community Entrepreneurs are mostly rural, middle aged, and often religious women who frequently run their own businesses or farm. Approximately 11 million people
(28% of the Burmese population) fall in this segment.
SOCIOECONOMIC (SES 1-2)
HIGH INCOME VOLATILITY
Community Entrepreneurs are confident planners who keep their incomes stable and predictable, regardless of employment type. They competently meet their expenses and often lead their households through a range of emergencies and challenges, even when not appointed head of household.
Financial Behavior & Attitudes
SAVINGS BEHAVIOR & ATTITUDES
Community Entrepreneurs exhibit strong financial health. They save relatively frequently, plan diligently, and make consistent use of credit. They are the most deliberate, goal-oriented savers and financial managers in Myanmar.
Community Entrepreneurs are highly socially oriented. They sometimes rely on community groups to support their businesses and help invest in their children’s education. However, they rarely if never use mobile money to save.
BORROWING BEHAVIOR & ATTITUDES
Community Entrepreneurs prefer to borrow from family and do so frequently. As such, they exhibit strong dependability but moderately low comfort with holding debt.
They rarely borrow through informal groups, and they virtually never borrow from banks or mobile channels.