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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.

A start-up begins with an idea, which then slowly expands with the addition of other ideas. Still, the process to actually transform the idea into a start-up is significantly more difficult. Many aspiring entrepreneurs give up or do not succeed due to the obstacles they meet prior to launching their business. The common mistakes can, however, be avoided via careful planning and education. Below are some of the most important steps that precede the debut of a start-up.

1. Round up your ideas

As said above, the initial idea which motivates you to begin a start-up can be quickly surrounded by other ideas. While all of your ideas will seem interesting, some may be good and some may be detrimental to your progress. Deciding what to keep and what to discard is a very important step in the path to launching your business. It will help you define your target market and refine your idea so it is fit for generating income.

2. Test your idea, product or service

Before investing all of your savings in a start-up, you might want to test your idea. Validating your product can save money on unprofitable ventures. It will also give you a better idea about the reception of your service. Tests of this type can be conducted in several ways. One of these is to create ads about your product and to see if people click ‘BUY’. If customers are not tempted to buy your product before it launches, chances that they will do so after are thin.

3. Create a business plan

Creating a business plan is a step that many business starters skip, which in most cases results in their downfall. A business plan can be helpful in many ways. For instance, launching a start-up requires funding. To access the necessary money, you are likely to look for investors of some sort. These investors are more likely sponsor a business which has a clear-cut, realistic and profitable plan than a blurry idea. Also, drafting a business plan is not difficult. It is but an elaborate summary of your business’s estimated growth during its first 3-5 years. It should also include ways in which you plan to take your start-up from point A to point B.

4. Join an incubator

An incubator is a good option, one of the best even, if you are a new entrepreneur. To give your business a better chance of survival, you need to surround yourself with the right people. This includes lawyers, potential associates, and investors. In this sense, incubators allow plenty of chances to network. Your start-up is bound to benefit from an environment in which you can communicate and exchange ideas with like-minded individuals. The support from the incubator can also be helpful when contacting investors so as to secure funding.

5. Get started with branding

Another mistake that business launchers make is to skip branding. Making your brand known to your potential clients even before you start selling to them is very important. It will build the foundations for your customer base and will give a good boost to your launch. You should make sure that your brand reflects your product/service and that it is catchy enough to be remembered. Once you launch your business, you can then grow your brand via social media networking and blogging.

6. Create your website

Nowadays, having an online presence is as important, if not more so, as having a physical location for your start-up. Indeed, your business needs to appear on browsers when people search for keywords on the internet. This is very important as it will increase your credibility, help in your branding and ultimately lead to sales. However, websites take time to build and take even more time to get viewers and clicks. Getting started on the creation of a website for your business before its launch is therefore crucial.

 

It goes without saying that the six steps mentioned above are merely the tip of the iceberg. There are countless other procedures that you will go through prior to launching your start-up. That will also only be the beginning. Even more work awaits you after the opening of your business. Maintaining the upward curve of your start-up’s growth can be as hard, if not harder, than getting it started. Therefore, if you wish launch a business, the time to start working on it is now.

Turbine is glad to have Alexandrine Maigrot as one of our Start-up Coaches. Alexandrine is coaching Nathalie, founder of Feuilles et Fleurs. We are pretty sure that her years of experience will benefit our start-up in the best way possible. Alexandrine shares her journey with us.

Alexandrine, please tell us about you.

I was born and raised in France, before settling in Mauritius. Through my professional activities, travels and various trainings, I had the opportunity and pleasure to open up to different cultures, all equally enriching.
With an initial Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Business Management and Marketing (advertising and international trade option), I started my professional career in large groups, notably as marketing manager and product developer.
In my jobs, I have always allocated space for creativity and attached particular importance to employee initiatives and personal development, accompanying it to the best of my abilities and skills.

Share with us your professional journey and your experience with entrepreneurs and start-ups so far.

Passionate about entrepreneurship and project developments, I made it my job, creating my own company to support and guide other companies, and also personally undertaking projects with partners (financial or operational).
Thanks to my 30 years of professional experience, various project accompaniments or implementation and a further training in Coaching (School of Anne France Weyl – Hedo coaching), I am committed to putting my skills at the service of other people to enhance their performance by accompanying their projects and providing individual  coaching, collective or organizations, with a certain attraction for the world of entrepreneurship.

I use my creativity to help my interlocutors develop their full potential and thus help them to meet the personal and professional challenges of our time.
I’ve been summing this up lately as “passing on knowledge to” doing with what we have, what we are to move from the ordinary to the extraordinary. »

Why have you chosen to be a Turbine’s Start-up Coach?

Working with Turbine and Start-ups is a pleasure in the sense that it meets my values.
I fully support the concept of Turbine, which provides guidance and expertise to new entrepreneurs and helps them spread their wings!
It sometimes seems difficult and complicated to start a business especially when you’re “alone”. Turbine offers the necessary coaching, networking opportunities, expertise, and support to entrepreneurs in their difficult journey. It is, in my opinion, an incredible chance for new entrepreneurs who will know how to seize this opportunity.
The experts and coaches accompanying these young entrepreneurs, within the framework of Turbine, provide their assistance to the development of projects and new ideas, which may become businesses that might not have been born otherwise. This can surely enrich Mauritius’ economy and reveal new entrepreneurs’ talent.

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!

Got business queries?

Why not discuss them with our business coach?

Book an appointment free of charge for the 24th January 2019.

Register now!

Every last Thursday and Friday of the month, we offer free Co-working passes!

These passes are for those who wish to experience what it is like to co-work in an open space environment.

Our co-workers are entrepreneurs, innovators and various professionals (Architects, Accountants, digital marketer, developers…and many more),  who form a strong community of like minded people helping each other out.

One free pass can last a full day, 08h30 to 17h00, at our open space.

The next free co-working open days are as follows:

– January 24th and 25th
– February 21st and 22nd
– March 28th and 29th

**Not to forget** The offer also implies Free Coffee and other amenities (kitchen, WIFI and games) !!!

Sign up now! 

Sure, Silicon Valley may be the first place that comes to mind when you think about startups. If you have entrepreneurial dreams, why not launch your start-up in Mauritius? Mauritius is ranked among the first countries in Africa and surely has a lot to offer to new entrepreneurs.

What is a Start-up?

A startup is a young company that is just beginning to develop. Startups are usually small and initially financed and operated by a handful of founders or one individual. These companies offer a product or service that is not currently being offered elsewhere in the market, or that the founders believe is being offered in an inferior manner.

Start-up VS SME

It’s no surprise that many are confused with start-ups and SMEs. They’re both established by entrepreneurs. They’re small in terms of revenue and number of employees. So, how are they different? Both are pursuing different business models and with significant differences in intent, function and funding options.

A start-up is temporary (usually lasts for 6 months) and it’s all about trial and error. For a start-up, it’s all about experimenting and testing your business model. The entrepreneur is usually uncertain about its target group or they are looking for a proper channel. Then they will start experimenting and searching for answers to the product they are trying to sell, checking out the market’s niche and how to maximize your revenue from the right customers. Finally, they will be able to grow it faster once your business model is settled and stabilized.

An SME is more permanent and it starts out with a structured organisation that focuses on the delivery of value to its already-known customers. An SME does not need to change its business model. Which means, at this stage, an SME is established with a stable and successful business model. SMEs are driven by making a profit and intend to secure a financially sustainable spot in a local market for the long run.

Launch your start-up in Mauritius

Now is an exciting time to witness the making of a startups scene, boosted by the returning Mauritian diaspora and local change-makers. And on a small island, you have the privilege to feel part of something huge! Want to launch a start-up? Why not?

Over the last 18 months, coworking spaces have popped up in each major business hub of the island. If you’re looking for a startup’s hub, The Turbine which a converted sugar factory turbine is the place to go and is the first startups incubator of the island.

Startups fill the void in society and create new ways to provide products and services to consumers. Mauritius being a developed island has still many unknown possibilities for new businesses for some beautiful years ahead.

8 steps to follow to Launch your Start-up in Mauritius:

  1. Conception of project/Business idea
  2. Preparation of business plan
  3. Deciding on form of business
  4. Choosing the right location
  5. Registering the business
  6. Look for funding sources for the project
  7. Implementing the project
  8. Planning and Organising Business Activity

How much does it cost to initiate a start-up?

Many people underestimate startup costs, and start their business in a haphazard, unplanned way. This can work, but it is usually much harder. A start-up might cost nothing but can also cost a lot of money depending on business nature. The 3 main costs incurred by start-ups are as follows:

  • Startup expenses: These are expenses that happen before the beginning of the plan, before the first month. For example, many new companies incur expenses for legal work, logo design, brochures, site selection and improvements, and other expenses.
  • Startup assets: Typical startup assets are cash (in the form of the money in the bank when the company starts), and in many cases starting inventory. Other starting assets are both current and long-term, such as equipment, office furniture, machinery, etc.
  • Startup financing: This includes both capital investment and loans. The only investment amounts or loan amounts that belong in the startup table are those that happen before the beginning of the plan. Whatever happens during or after the first month should go instead into the Cash Flow table, which will automatically adjust the Balance Sheet.

These will vary upon business nature – a simple Marketing Agency might need only some thousands of rupees to start but a small manufacturing agency might need some hundreds of thousands to start.

How can La Turbine help start-ups?

As an incubator, La Turbine help start-ups (businesses with either a tinge of innovation or an innovative concept/idea) to be established sustainably in their respective market. In their incubation program which lasts a year, La Turbine accompanies the entrepreneurs in taking the best decisions to achieve their milestones and objectives.

They are provided with a one to one weekly coaching and access to field experts in La Turbine’s network, potential investors, business angels and in many cases their first clients. A series of tailor-made workshops are designed for them to level up their entrepreneurial skills.

The incubated start-ups get free access to our networking and entrepreneurial events. Basically, they are considered as being a part of La Turbine. As mentioned before, La Turbine is a start-ups incubator with a co-working space. For the first six months, the incubated start-ups get to use the co-working space and its amenities freely. The last six months, they get a preferential rate. (This soothes their numbers)

There is an increasing number of people opting to launch their own businesses these days. There are various speculations that can aim to explain this phenomenon. One principal speculation, is that more and more people appreciate the satisfaction of working for themselves. Another is that people are increasingly connected and exposed to more and more innovative concepts. Perhaps people believe that being employed and working for someone else’s enterprise puts a ceiling on the figure one earns every month, whereas in running one’s own business, that figure has a direct correlation with how hard you are working. The mathematics here appears to be quite simple. But is it really?

In running one’s own enterprise, it is crucial to ensure that we are giving ourselves and the best tools and opportunities to succeed. In reality, it is very difficult to ascertain a startup’s chances of success. Running a startup is like juggling at least 6 balls during most of your waking hours and on one leg. For this reason, many startups decide to opt for an Incubation Program.

Benefits and possibilities offered to Start Ups by an incubator

Well who said you could not run your business from your own garage or from a friendly neighbor’s garage? This have worked very well for Larry Page and Sergey Brin since they now own the lion’s share of Google. Yet, let’s be realistic – the focus is to make enough day by day and to survive. One instrument that might come in handy remains the business incubator. An Incubation Program is one that is designed to help startups develop in its early stages. It does for a startup what an actual incubator does for eggs: Prepares them for hatching successfully and healthily. But metaphors aside, Incubation Programs offer coaching, workshops and networking for early stage enterprises. They provide a curriculum with set objectives specific to the startup and outcomes that it needs to identify and deliver. So, a business incubator, in turn, is an organization that provides these services.

To survive and thrive, what does a start -up need? What are startup’s basic necessities?

1. Affordable Workspace for Start-Ups

Business incubators firstly offer a co-working space for new entrepreuneur. These are cost effective workspaces with a varied pool of professionals renting seats to work. The benefit here is two-fold: a free workspace means exemption from having to allocate a significant sum from one’s budget. And secondly, it provides automatic access to a wide network of professionals that entrepreneurs can tap into for advice and better yet, collaborations. Since coworking spaces are known for their eccentric layouts and decors, it does not hurt to have the opportunity to impress potential partners and clients by welcoming them into a hip and trendy environment.

2. Access to a vast network of mentors, experts and industry partners

A crucial component of any business incubator corresponds to the large network of business advisors and partners that can help advance the business. From Entrepreneurs-in-Residence which provide high-level strategic guidance to specialized mentors for niche industries, the difference between success and failure can truly come down to who you know.

3. Funding opportunities for new entrepreneurs

Everybody knows entrepreneurs need money to expand and grow their businesses, and although many early-stage startup companies raise their initial funds through the 3 F’s (friends, family, founders), there will come a time when a more substantial round of investment is necessary. Membership in a business incubator not only can connect entrepreneurs to venture capitalist and/or angel investment groups, but it can make the business a more attractive investment opportunity to such groups.

4. Support system during the “treacherous” early stage waters

Whether it is a product flaw or an incompetent management team that leads to its demise, incubation programs strive to mitigate that early-stage risk of starting a business through programmatic and developmental resources. It also helps being able to talk entrepreneurs off the ledge when they have a rough day.

In a nutshell, Business incubators’ main aim is to educate new entrepreneurs in best business practices while providing mentorship and guidance.

Turbine is mainly known for its start-up incubation and entrepreneurial activities. In the view to promote entrepreneurship in Mauritius, it is essential to provide a flexible place of work for talented individuals and professionals that foster a culture of innovation. For that purpose, we created Turbine’s Coworking space.
Shubhda Gujadhur is our newly appointed Community Associate. She is a young, creative and dynamic person who is all about promoting innovation and a healthy community in and around Turbine. She is in charge of Turbine’s Coworking space and shares her experience with us.

Coworking, a new culture of work

There are many things to be said about coworking but none of them will make any sense if one does not understand what coworking is. A quick online search will yield the following result:

“…the use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge…”

And while that pretty much hits the nail on the head, this definition brings many implications with it.

Think about what you need to be able to work? Your laptop, a plug point for your laptop, a desk, a chair and most importantly a decent internet connection. A space that would offer you all of those is called an office; where you rent your space for a fixed price every month, where you go to work every day to meet the same people and where you sit at your same spot to finish your work.

What if I told you that you could go to work, have flexible rental packages, meet new/ different interesting people every day and sit at a different spot whenever you would like to?  That is the first implication of the co-working definition. Oh, did I mention the free locally roasted coffee that you get?

Coworking vs Traditional work office

The second implication is that there is a particular culture that comes with co-working, one that transcends job titles, years of experience and rigid aspects of blue collar jobs: It is a culture of community; people sharing ideas, consulting one another in their respective fields of expertise, and at times, even collaborating with one another. At Turbine, this is done by fostering trust, diversity and innovation. Co-working brings diversity with it and collaborations between diverse groups of people make the best recipes for innovation.

Another issue that traditional offices have to face is the need to summon external professionals to solve your problems. Say your laptop has a bug: You would need to call a professional in order to fix it. However, it is highly likely that you will find a developer/ IT person in a co-working space that will probably be willing to help a friend out. The same goes for professional advice: Often times when you need specific advice on in specific areas, chances are that you could find someone to give you their expert opinion on it and vice versa.

The final (and favourite) implication of the definition is that you actively and passively participate in building a community of individuals who might have otherwise never met but that still support one another.

Want to try spend a day at Turbine’s Coworking space? See our offers here or email us on hello@turbine.mu

In view of our mission to help our incubated start-ups geared up with the best practices, tools and advice from experts, Turbine held a workshop on the Introduction to Digital Marketing. We were honored to have Noor Sheriff, the Digital Marketing Executive of ENL Property,  as our guest speaker, accompanied by Bénédicte de Comarmondthe Communication Manager of ENL Property.

Digital Marketing is a very vast field which is constantly updating. This term frightens many, however, after this workshop, the objectives and context of Digital Marketing was not only clear and easy to understand but also fun!

Noor broke down the components of Digital Marketing step by step, sharing with us insights from Digital Marketing Gurus and free tools that we can use to enhance our online marketing. Entrepreneurs are guaranteed to be happy with all the learning we got through this workshop.

The workshop: An Introduction to Digital Marketing

Noor Sheriff, Turbine, Incubator, Workshop, entrepreneurial event, entrepreneurial workshop, ENL Group, ENL Property, Benedicte de Comarmond

Digital Marketing for entrepreneurs and beginners

Ever thought whether having a website will be a good means to connect with your stakeholders? Wondering if it actually works and how? There are a few components in digital Marketing that actually can help you track the performance of your website, identify the active pages on your website, your audience and many more.

One of the tools that permit you to track and understand what is going on your website is Google Analytics.

According to Noor Sheriff “Google Analytics is the first must-have on your website. It is Google’s free analytics tool to measure data from all your website traffic to give you insights.” Google analytics helps you understand your online audience and how your marketing strategies are performing. He explained the various components of Google Analytics, referring to the terms being used and how to best use its features.

Noor Sheriff also explained the concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEO allows the website to rank top on google search based on various keywords used on various pages of the website. He introduced a few effective free tools such as Yoast SEO and demonstrated how it really enhance the website.

Noor used a few tools to vet the website of our incubated start-ups, giving them real and concrete advice accordingly. He further explained how SEM can be used for adverts. SEM is actually one of the most effective ways to grow your business in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Noor made our incubated start-ups get acquainted to the different ways of conversions using the digital marketing.

Inbound Marketing which involves content and context forces one to be client centric. Nowadays, in order to compete, a business need to be different and provide as per clients’ demand. As per Noor,  inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in a customer’s buying journey, empowering the customer.

Digital Marketing is not so complicated after all

To be honest, this workshop went on for more than 3 hours without any break, it was that intense and fun. The above mentioned topics were not the only ones that we covered, there were also Google Adwords, CRM etc. Noor not only tackled each question of the start-ups but also gave a lot of tools, insights and advice. Each person who attended this workshop is sure to have grasp the context and we can see that our start-ups have already started to work accordingly.

Seeing the importance, intensity and quality of this workshop, Turbine wishes to extend it to other entrepreneurs and digital marketing intrigues in Mauritius. Let us know if you wish to attend the workshop.

Drop us an email on hello@turbine.mu with reference to Insightful introduction to Digital Marketing workshop.

 

Mauritius Conscious, Mauritius, Startups, Fundkiss, Digital Marketing, Turbine, Incubator