Yoma to bring pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s to Myanmar; New Day wins Seedstars Yangon 2018

Photo: Auntie Anne's

Yoma Strategic Holdings has partnered with FOCUS Brands to bring pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s to Myanmar. In other news, jobs marketplace New Day won the Seedstars Yangon 2018 competition.

Yoma Strategic to bring pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s to Myanmar

SGX-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd and Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands Inc, which operates restaurants and cafés, have signed a franchise agreement to bring pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s to Myanmar.

Auntie Anne’s is currently available across almost 30 countries in Asia.

“We are seeing considerable growth in the market for freshly baked goods. While many street vendors do offer traditional Myanmar alternatives, the addition of an iconic international brand will only enrich the local foodscape,” said Melvyn Pun, CEO of Yoma Strategic.

With the first Auntie Anne’s outlet slated to open in Yangon, the brand is eyeing a wider presence in the country over the next five years.

FOCUS Brands Inc is also the franchisor and operator of over 6,000 ice-cream shops, bakeries, restaurants and cafes under brands such as Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba Juice and Schlotzsky’s.

Other franchises that Yoma Strategic had brought into the country include KFC and Little Sheep Hotpot.

New Day wins Seedstars Yangon 2018

New Day (Neh Thit), an online platform connecting businesses with job seekers, was named the winner of Seedstars Yangon 2018, the Myanmar segment of the Swiss startup enabler Seedstars World.

Recyglo, a recyclables pick up service, and Lae Lar, an online learning platform targeting locals, rounded off the top three startups chosen at this year’s Seedstars Yangon.

MMTutors, Next Code, My Healthcare, KLENIC, Giant Pay and 360ed were the other startups that participated this year.

Rosie Keller, regional manager for Asia, Seedstars, said over 40 applications for Myanmar were received this year, with higher interest seen from healthtech and edtech startups.

“We are really focused right now on continuing to build out and improve our platform. At the same time, it is at a stage strong enough for us to really begin to scale on both sides of the platform — both with jobseekers and employers,” said Conor Smith, founder of New Day (Neh Thit).

New Day will be heading to Bangkok to join the regional summit of SeedStars in November and the global summit in Switzerland next year.

Seedstars won a tender to build the Yangon innovation centre this year and plans to invest $1.1 million over the next five years to develop the startup ecosystem in the country.

It is also planning to bring two fintech ventures, one in SME lending and another in consumer lending, built in Nigeria through the Seedstars academy program to Myanmar and Egypt.

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