We attended the Entrepreneurship Expresso organised by the Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives in collaboration with SME Mauritius. The aim of this meet up was to facilitate, support and promote women entrepreneurship through coaching mentoring and business to business networking. It formed part of the Thematic Intervention enumerated in the 10 Year Master Plan for the SME Sector in Mauritius.
It had at heart the development of entrepreneurs and SMEs in Mauritius through a thematic action of promoting women entrepreneurs. This was done by providing a space for hand holding and mentoring supports combined with networking opportunities with high net worth women. This in turn made for an inspiring and empowering environment for young startups to grow.
A day packed with inspiring speeches delivered by Hon. R. Jadoo Jaunbocus, Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Welfare; Hon. S. Bholah, Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives and a number of successful women entrepreneurs, namely Sylvette kreuck the CEO of Wally plush toys, who shared their experiences developing their business in Mauritius.
The overall aim of the workshop was to empower women to dive into starting/ accelerating their businesses not just by delivering pretty speeches but also by shedding light on the options that are available to them. These come in all shapes and sizes; from schemes, grants and loans at exceptionally low interest rates to associations that have been created with sole purpose of promoting entrepreneurship in Mauritius. A few schemes that were discussed are as follows:
- Access to market – Barcode Registration~ 100% reimbursement of registration and training fee (Rs 6,750 VAT inclusive)
- Communication and visibility- online presence~ 80% of cost with a maximum of Rs 40,000
- Technology and skills transfer- 15% refund of the transaction per year with a ceiling of Rs 100,000)
- Sme Refund Scheme for export promotion events and Technology Fairs~ A grant of Rs 200,000 per year for SMEs in manufacturing and agricultural sectors to participate in export events and tech fairs.
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Throughout the course of the workshop, a lot of emphasis was laid on the importance of doing business in a professional manner and by hiring the right personnel with right field of expertise to help one grow their business.
Another aspect of doing business in Mauritius that was accentuated was networking; with successful entrepreneurs saying that it does not matter what you know in the business world, it’s whom you know.