Business as Mission in Myanmar

Church leaders in Myanmar discuss cooperative business opportunities in their dioceses.

Church leaders in Myanmar discuss cooperative business opportunities in their dioceses.

A Christian Response to Poverty

How should churches respond to the challenges of poverty and unemployment? And how does the mission of the church contribute to economic development and social transformation?

These are questions that many church leaders around the world wrestle with.

As a Christian leader in one of the poorest countries in Asia, Archbishop Stephen has a vision for self-reliant churches across Myanmar. He is eager to see community members free and empowered to use their God-given gifts and talents to serve and enrich their communities. Archbishop Stephen believes in this vision so deeply, he recently invited Five Talents to conduct a Business as Mission training for clergy and church leaders from across Myanmar.

Archbishop Steven with Mothers’ Union Leaders and Five Talents trainers in Myanmar.

Archbishop Steven with Mothers’ Union Leaders and Five Talents trainers in Myanmar.

We see the Glory of God from one degree of glory to another. We witness it in the small business activity where there was none before and in the of love and financial gifts that pour out from poor Anglicans in towns like Kwam-bi and Hpa An, evidence of the transformative power of the Gospel.
— Rev. Cavin Philbin, Business as Mission Trainer

Envisioning Economic Development

On February 18th and 19th, a team from Five Talents engaged 55 church leaders from eight dioceses across Myanmar on Christian Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Finance/Record Keeping, and Business Development. The aim of the training was to envision church leaders and encourage savings programs and microenterprise development in their communities.

During the training, church leaders broke into small groups and explored different opportunities for business as mission within their dioceses. The leaders focused primarily on agricultural and cooperative businesses and developed models and plans for rice and coffee farming, yam production, soap making, organic fertilizer production, and more. The leaders are eager to take these lessons back to their communities and encourage local entrepreneurs and small scale farmers to stimulate business development.

Participants in the Business as Mission Training in Myanmar.

Participants in the Business as Mission Training in Myanmar.

In Myanmar, Five Talents has worked closely with the Anglican Church and with Mothers’ Union, one of the largest women’s ministries in the country. Together we’ve seen a host of new businesses created and hundreds of families increase their income and provide a brighter future for their children. Our hope is to expand these programs to serve even more churches and communities across Myanmar.

Your prayers and support help to achieve this goal. Make a gift to Five Talents today and share hope and opportunity with families in need.

We Don’t Do Loans. We Do Leverage.

What it means to empower the poor

Five Talents does not charge interest and does not provide loan capital to individuals. We used to do this, but over the years Five Talents has developed a model that we believe is much more effective at empowering the poor.

Members of a savings group for peer to peer lending in Burundi

Understanding Peer to Peer lending

Instead of using donor's gifts to make loans that could make a new entrepreneur dependent, our partners use funds donated to Five Talents to provide training and to establish and equip local groups to save and invest their own resources. These groups then provide a platform to launch and develop locally-owned businesses. This approach is effective and sustainable.

Why Leverage Lifts More Out of Poverty

Even in the world's poorest and most vulnerable areas there are existing resources that can be leveraged as communities learn to save and invest together. In Five Talents savings groups, an individual may start by saving as little as 50 cents a week. As he or she saves together with neighbors and friends in a small group, each person learns business skills and tools for financial management and business development.

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”


After a short period of saving together, the group has enough funds to begin offering loans to its members. These start as small loans of $5 to $50. But these small amounts are enough to help each family start or expand their own small business. Over time these businesses grow, and the new entrepreneurs repay and recycle the funds in growing increments throughout the group.

Peer to peer lending empowers the poor

Peer to peer lending empowers the poor

The Difference Leverage Makes

By investing in training, Five Talents can mobilize and leverage local knowledge and skills to build sustainable businesses. By working with communities and in small groups, Five Talents can leverage existing social networks and capital. By using a “savings-first” approach, Five Talents can mobilize and leverage local resources to create long-term financial solutions.

Leverage means that every dollar given to Five Talents reaches more families, accomplishes more good, and delivers lasting results.

So, go ahead, make a gift to Five Talents and let your impact be leveraged:

Lifetime Achievement Award: Five Talents Celebrates Impact Makers


Jim Oakes receives the lifetime achievement award.

Over the years, Five Talents has been blessed with a wonderful family of friends and supporters. These faithful friends have helped us to grow Five Talents from a small charity with a big heart to a world class leader in Christian economic development. Recently, we recognized one of these key impact makers during a Twentieth Anniversary Celebration.

Jim Oakes has been a champion of development among the vulnerable poor and and has been actively involved in ministry with Five Talents for over fifteen years.

Lifetime achievement award

Jim has traveled numerous times for Five Talents around the world including 6 trips to South Sudan. As a long-time Board Member and Board Chairman, Jim has volunteered countless hours to build, support, and encourage the ministry of Five Talents, even dedicating an entire year to volunteer as Five Talents acting Executive Director.

Because of Jim’s faithful service, Five Talents is pleased to award him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Five Talents Announces New Office Location

FALLS CHURCH, VA: Five Talents USA, a global leader in catalyzing business among the extreme poor, announces a new office location.


Starting this week, the Five Talents USA headquarters relocates to a facility near the Dunn Loring Metro and Mosaic District of Merrifield, Virginia. The new office is just outside the beltway at: 2789 Hartland Road, Falls Church, VA 22043.


Five Talents' mailing address remains unchanged: PO Box 331, Vienna, VA 22813.  For more contact information, click here.

The move to a new office enables Five Talents to continue to accomodate staff, coordinate operations, and increase support of overseas programs. An open house will be announced at a later date.

Five Talents USA was founded in 1998 to fight poverty, create jobs, and transform lives. Since inception, Five Talents has worked in over 20 countries, helping the vulnerable poor to develop savings groups and community banks, and empowering entrepreneurs to create over 46,000 locally-owned businesses. Currently, Five Talents has full-time offices in the US, UK, and Kenya.