By Interviewer Yarzar, Thenaing-Oo
In honor of “Women’s Week-Myanmar”
The following is the full text from an interview with Daw Tint Tint Lwin, Honorary Chief Consul of Hungary and Chairman of Tint Tint Myanmar Group of Companies, in honour of International Women’s Day which falls on 8th March 2017.
Interviewer = Let me know your educational attainments and how you started in business.
Interviewee = I graduated with my B.Sc degree in Chemistry from Yangon university in 1998. After graduation, I found it difficult to find a job. I hoped for a teaching career as a demonstrator in Chemistry. To do so, I started learning the German language with a view to studying Chemistry in Germany under the scholarship award programme. Unluckily I missed the scholarship award. Yet, I had a chance to learn about German cultures and traditions of great interest. Accordingly, I tried my best to study the German language. At that time, we did not have access to systematically study the German language in our country. But I studied it attentively, in the midst of difficulties, choosing a tourist guide career for a Swiss-German company. This was my first-ever job.
Interviewer = Please explain how you experienced difficulties as a woman entrepreneur.
Interviewee = I overcame various kinds of hardships to become a woman entrepreneur from the existence of a tour guide. In the year 1999-2000, I got a tour guide job with favourable remuneration. But I also had a duty to nurture my son’s physical and mental development. I tried my best to reach my goals as a single mother, with people with both pessimistic and optimistic views. I accumulated courage and strength by reading a lot, using knowledge gained through books to the best of my ability. I studied and worked hard to run a tourism business. In 2007, I won the best tourist guide award given by Germany. Afterwards, many tour operators across the world made contact with me. But, due to my unwillingness to work for any company as an ordinary salary-person, I started a miniature tour company in Myanmar, with only two staff. By laying down plan A, B & C, I implemented plans that others could not. Remarkably, it was successful in a year, thus I managed to expand the company with 16 staff. In the second year, it gained success to a large extent. The rivers in Myanmar were rather beautiful and the numbers of ships plying in these rivers were very few. Plus, those travelling on board were well-to-do people. So, I started a plan of providing services in a small boat, for other tourists as well to be able to enjoy the beauty of Myanmar’s rivers. The small boat plan was so successful that it gave service for the King of Norway and the Queen during their trip, gaining us tremendous fame.
Interviewer = How about your link with KBZ Bank, please?
Interviewee = The success of that plan inspired me to expand my business. But, at that time, I had scant knowledge about bank loans. It must be likened to a runner who cannot proceed to the destination for lack of supporting group to encourage him, in spite of seeing the goal ahead. Yet, luckily enough, I had a chance to meet knowledgeable bank officials from KBZ. I clarified my ideas and plans to expand my business. Then, a luckier thing came to me again. It was none other than finding a ship that could provide all the services I wanted to give. So, I rushed to the bank, enquiring what I must to do about the loan, by submitting my plans. Later, I got the loan I needed from KBZ Bank. My cruise ship business was successful, earning the capital invested into the ship within four months. I am greatly pleased working together with KBZ Bank than I can get the financial aids I need to implement what I want to do.
Interviewer = Please tell me success of your business after linking with KBZ Bank.
Interviewee = I am greatly pleased with the Loan Service of KBZ Bank. So, I continued to make arrangements to repay loans and simultaneously to get more loans to fund my next projects, by linking with KBZ bank. I cannot implement these by myself. With KBZ bank’s financial help, I managed to buy more ships, to build hotels to give full services to customers. Now, KBZ bank has been ready to help my works. This is the result of my work’s success. And the bank is closely watching over my works, giving professional expertise and advice through the bank’s consultants. During these periods when I work by linking with the bank, I really felt that I am working under the surveillance of my parents, not as a customer. I myself searched for advice when I had a problem. The more progress I got, the more satisfaction I had with the bank.
Interviewer = What about your present expanded industry and further plans to be expanded, please!
Interviewee = Presently, we are expanding as Tint Tint Myanmar Group of Companies, under which there are Hotel & Tourism, River Cruises run by 5 ships on the Ayeyarwady river route, hotels in Shan State, Sagaing and Mandalay Regions, Yachting in the Myeik Islands, Hotel Uniform Manufacturing Factory and agricultural farming. For operating a Water Taxi company on the Ayeyarwady river, the Yangon Region Cabinet granted my tender bid. I will carry out the water taxi company to keep abreast with international standards, with KBZ’s aids.
Interviewer = As a successful Myanmar entrepreneur, which words of strength would you like to share with Myanmar women, given your knowledge and experiences?
Interviewee = To put it simply, I experienced many enormous hardships that I never expected to reach this state. As a woman, especially as a Myanmar woman, I found it difficult in managing a business. I always take myself as a leader who is running a business to success, absolutely being influenced by the impression of neither feminism nor masculinity. With this conception, I managed to overcome any difficulties. I always get rid of ideas that I will not be able to do, as I am a woman. Female and male are separated according to gender. It is just a physical difference. I want men to call women together in moving toward a developed nation. And, I want our fellow women to believe in their abilities and expose their abilities if necessary. Last but not least, I wish they can move on to their goals with self-confidence.