Ex-private banker Leon Qiu believes that socially responsible for-profit enterprises are more sustainable than charity
To eschew professional peacocking on LinkedIn takes not just guts, but also the freedom that comes with not having to worry about future employers and bosses. As an entrepreneur, Leon Qiu’s profile on the platform can afford to be refreshingly honest.
He sums up his almost-nine years in the private banking sector with a string of one-liners. At Credit Industriel et Commercial (CIC), he “made credit accessible to the highly affluent”. Then, at Groupe Credit Agricole, he “made credit even more accessible to the ultra-affluent”.
Not anymore. Today, Qiu sings a very different tune, one that doesn’t allude to the affluent. Motivated by a desire to make an impact among those who truly need help, he quitted his lucrative private banking career in 2019 to found Daung Capital, a fintech startup that offers micro-financing solutions to Myanmar’s financially excluded. The firm was acquired in 2020 by Get All Myanmar – which Qiu is now helming as CEO – a digital commerce platform that strives to empower micro-entrepreneurs with technology.
Why Myanmar? Many other countries in the region face gaps in financial inclusion.
If you look at the countries of ASEAN, most of them are saturated with credit. Financial gaps exist across these countries, but Myanmar is still ranked the last out of all of them on the Human Development Index. We chose a place where we could make an impact on the greatest number of people with the resources we have on hand.
What made you say yes to the acquisition by Get All Myanmar?
Get All Myanmar has a strong agent network comprising close to 18,000 provision shop owners, whom they empower with access to digital goods that can be sold through the Get Now digital store. The intention is to allow these small businesses to become digital mobile service providers, thus supplementing income. The acquisition gives Daung Capital access to this expansive network, spelling great synergistic potential in micro-loan offering and instalment collection.
Why is closing the financial inclusion gap important to you?
When access to resources is unequal, there will consequently be inequality in opportunities. But even if we were to level the playing field and make opportunities more accessible to all, there will still be a disparity when it comes to capitalising on said opportunities. My goal is to enable people to have the same quality options I have.