Qatar’s Ooredoo last week extended its incubation programme to Myanmar with the launch of a new ICT innovation programme in a bid to “foster grassroots innovation through local entrepreneurship,” the telecom company said.
Ooredoo has already developed business incubation initiatives across its other markets, including Ooredoo Algeria’s tStart and iStart; Indosat’s Ideabox in Indonesia; and Ooredoo Tunisiana’s Start-up Factory in Tunisia.
The firm said its incubation programmes were launched to “enable skills development and enhance youth employability, and to stimulate local mobile innovation, by supporting apps and new business ideas in the national languages of those countries.”
Ooredoo joined hands with Singapore-based online start-up platform Silicon Straits, and Australian-based accelerator Pollenizer to launch the ICT innovation programme, “IdeaBox”, in Myanmar.
IdeaBox program includes four-to-six-month incubation and acceleration initiative, which provides seed funding, office space, resources and mentoring up to the value up of $100,000 for start-up companies to invest in connected offices, digital specialists, and mobile advertising, Ooredoo said.
IdeaBox also aims to support developer and design skill courses, entrepreneur training, hackathons, developer bootcamps and mentorship networking.
Dr Nasser Marafih, group CEO, Ooredoo, said: “Across our markets, local entrepreneurs are developing innovative ICT programmes and mobile apps, but often do not have the resources to bring these to market or scale their solutions.
He said Ooredoo’s programmes provide expertise, funding, and exposure to develop entrepreneurialism at the grassroots level.
“We aim to support local businesses via these flagship developments … to encourage human growth through innovation.”
In Myanmar, fewer than 10 percent of the population has a mobile phone. Ooredoo said it will roll out a “world-class 3G mobile network with affordable and life-enhancing value-added services,” within six months.
Ooredoo said by adding a start-up support programme to its existing network investment, it can tap into a wealth of young talent that is eager to deploy mobile technology to develop new businesses and kick-start social development.
Ross Cormack, CEO, Ooredoo Myanmar, said: “We have a fully-integrated strategy for supporting innovation, development and sustainable economic growth across our operations in Myanmar, with a particular focus on young people, women and rural communities.”