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An incubator is by definition a growth infrastructure which helps new ventures develop into successful businesses. The process usually involves the provision of physical and communication facilities as well as networking possibilities and education. Via the assistance provided, the start-up will eventually gain access to capital.

Origin

The concept of incubators was born in the United States in the 1950s, but primarily became noticeable in the mid-1990s. Indeed, the dot-com boom resulted in a chain of incubators and 2005 finally saw the creation of Y Combinator. This American organisation is one of the leading incubators around the world. It is at the base of successful companies such as Dropbox, Airbnb, Twitch, Quora and more such enterprises.

Y Combinator is also known as the company which sparked the rise of modern incubators around the world. For instance, there are approximately 7000 incubators worldwide, according to the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA). Amongst these, 1250 can be found in the United States alone, 700 in China, 400 in Brazil and 220 in the United Kingdom. Mauritius also has some incubators, although the numbers are less impressive.

Impact of incubators

All of these incubators are impacting on the worldwide start-up scene and individually changing specific entrepreneurial landscapes. The survival rates for businesses that go through incubators are reportedly around 92%. Their success is attributed to various aspects.

Guidance

While some value the development of business skills, others highlight the networking advantages that come with incubator programs. Start-ups gain both credibility and value when associated with incubators and the latter’s sponsors. Also, they are less likely to scramble with official/legal paperwork with the provided guidance. These contribute to raising a confident batch of start-ups that can tackle markets and challenges with relative ease.

A good work environment

The provision of office equipment and a functioning work space also impacts on the entrepreneurial scene in various ways. Firstly, these give entrepreneurs the necessary tools they need to cultivate their ideas and to network with other start-up owners. The potential for growth is considerably greater in this sense.

The whole ecosystem benefits from incubators

Also, with access to these facilities, entrepreneurs are given a place to start, which boosts their involvement in their project. It is therefore safe to say that incubators promote and actively participate in the growth of entrepreneurship on various levels.

For instance, the start-up ecosystem is seeing changes at both macro and micro levels with the involvement of incubators. The organisations help with the economic growth of a country. They also have a hand in the creation of wealth, jobs and innovation ventures. Additionally, incubators aid in the fostering of an entrepreneurial culture on a local level. They promote research and create opportunities for university students and in certain cases also impact on international trade.

On a more specific note, the changes that incubators are bringing to the entrepreneurial scene in India reflect the local population’s drive in terms of start-up creation. However, while around 5000 businesses are created in the country each year, a lot of these start-ups end up dying due to a lack of support. This can be attributed to the gap between entrepreneurs’ expectations and incubators’ offers.

In any case, Mauritius has a lot to learn from incubator experiences and impacts worldwide. The advantages that these business hubs provide can be very beneficial to the local entrepreneurial scene.

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Nathalie Daruty is a woman entrepreneur in Mauritius promoting medicinal plants. For a long time, Nathalie has been working on starting her enterprise Feuilles et fleurs and wants to take her business to the next level.  Now with all the knowledge, she has acquired from the Turbine Test Drive Program, she has joined the Turbine Incubation program to strengthen her start-up. Nathalie shares her vision and her interesting journey with us.

“I strongly wish to develop an enterprise that becomes the reference in the field of medicinal plants and its application. For that, I have plans to learn about the applications in depth from healers and specialists around the globe and bring this knowledge to our country to benefit our people.”

organic plantatin

Nathalie tending to her plants in her new field of crops

My entrepreneurial journey began when I started my studies on phytotherapy and aromatherapy. I started by testing a few infusions from plants in my garden and shared the products with friends and family: they loved it! Their reaction boosted my motivation and confidence so I kept working harder. I was able to make some money and buy paper bags as packaging.  Then I participating in Christmas markets where I earned enough money to buy a plant dryer. Taking part in these various fairs also allowed me to slowly level up the packaging. Back then, the dryer was in my garage while all the manufacturing was in my dining room. I finally also had to convert a room into a studio for my workshops. Despite having a few regular clients, my business could not flourish due to the limited land and production.

I have thus decided to move to farmland where I will also conduct my workshops.

natural products Foliage is collected in a sustainable and eco-conscious fashion

 

I am often asked:”Why Feuilles et Fleurs?”  One of the reasons is that I have always loved infusions and herbal products. After teaching for many years, I really wanted to do something that I am curious about and create new products that would be beneficial for our planet. That urge of doing something on my own doubled when I realized that I have to change my lifestyle to take care of our well being and go closer to nature.

Another reason would be the lack of good quality natural local herbal products. Most herbal products are imported and may not be of quality. The lack of simplicity in our consumption habits is neither good for our body nor for the planet.

My creations till now involve 12 variety of infusions namely turmeric powder, moringa powder, crude dried plants in bulk, massage balls (siam tampon), fagots of purification with sage.

natural products

Feuilles et Fleurs products in their new packaging

 

These natural products are for people who acknowledge the importance of health, that prevention is better than cure with chemical products, who are also environmentally friendly and want to learn the clean way of doing cultivation.

I am also looking forward to Feuilles et Fleurs conducting a workshop of 4 DIY sessions in collaboration with Wellness and SensiBio where participants will learn how to make their own cosmetic and cleaning products. The sessions are as follows:

5th February 2019: Sun’s cream and repair oil

26th February 2019: laundry, stain remover and dishwashing liquid

19th Mars 2019: deodorant, two kinds of toothpaste and makeup remover

9th April 2019: 3 soaps, powder shampoo + bar shampoo

workshop

The aim of this work is to be ecological, to reduce waste and also economic.

The Turbine Test Drive Programme was really beneficial to Feuilles et Fleurs. It made me realize the importance of structuring my company and gave me a more acute vision of the future.

Up to then, Feuilles et Fleurs was a very small company that I just liked working on, today, I have started taking action to make it a good and profitable business!

I never had any entrepreneurial training. As an incubated start-up at Turbine, I am really looking forward to all the experience and knowledge I will be getting through the coaching and workshops. I believe that it will help me avoid certain mistakes and guide me in making the best future possible for Feuilles et Fleurs. I understand that Turbine has a really good network too, and this will help me.

I am so thankful to Turbine for selecting Feuilles et Fleurs for the incubation program after Test Drive. I am really excited about the upcoming adventure!

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