2016 is almost over. What a year it’s been!
This month we celebrated our 2nd birthday. A lot has happened over the last two years and none of it would have been possible without our community. So we made a video to say THANK YOU.
2016 has been a really big year. In addition to all our usual workshops, seminars and MeetUps, we launched some major strategic initiatives. The goal of these programs is to accelerate the development of Myanmar’s tech and innovation ecosystem. Here’s some highlights:
- Phandeeyar Accelerator – we launched Myanmar’s first-ever tech startup accelerator. We’re now investing in the country’s most promising early stage startups, providing them with cash, coaching and access to a network of investors. Cohort #1 is already 4 months in and Demo Day is in early March. (Learn more here)
- Founder Institute Yangon – we also launched a “pre-accelerator” program to help aspiring entrepreneurs become startup founders. We’re using Silicon Valley’s famous Founder Institute course. The first class has started and will graduate before Thingyan. (Learn more here)
- Phandeeyar Labs – we’re also running a version of the Accelerator to support civic and social entrepreneurs to use technology to increase the impact of their work. The first product is OpenHluttaw.info, a platform by Myanmar Fifth Estate that makes it easy for people in Myanmar to engage with their parliamentary representatives.
- OpenDevelopmentMyanmar.net – we expanded our Open Data Program, launching an interactive open data portal full of easily accessible information about Myanmar. We’ve also been training local organizations and independent media to use data in their work. Check out OpenDevelopmentMyanmar.net.
- Tech for Peace – we also expanded our program to help community organizations use social media and digital content to promote positive messages about peace, tolerance and inter-communal harmony.
- Digital Rights – Connectivity has exploded in Myanmar, but almost nothing has been done to protect the rights of the country’s internet users. Together with MIDO, MCRB and EngageMedia we brought leaders from tech, government, civil society and media together for the Myanmar Digital Rights Forum. The Forum drew significant attention to these critical issues (see here) and enabled participants to develop plans to address them.
- Phandeeyar Makerspace – we now have a dedicated space to support Myanmar’s maker community! There’s 3D printers, lots of electronics equipment, a CNC router and much more.
Finally, this week the Chief Minister of Yangon U Phyo Min Thein spent more than two hours at Phandeeyar (see here). It was great to talk to him about how technology could be used to improve people’s lives. Myanmar faces many challenges, but we believe that technology can play a critical role in accelerating change and development. We’re really excited about what we can all do together in 2017.
There’s a really long list of people, partners, investors, donors and others who made everything possible this year. Thanks so much for all your support. We hope you all have a very happy and restful holidays. We look forward to seeing you all again soon.
The Panda Team