The aim is to test digital solutions as a means to enhance financial literacy
30 Women Entrepreneurs Participate in a Financial Literacy Experiment
March 21, 2023
21 March 2023
Thirty Mauritian women entrepreneurs are participating in an experiment devised by the UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab in collaboration with the University of Mauritius. The aim of this initiative is to test whether online solutions, including YouTube videos in Mauritian Creole and online peer-to-peer platforms, could be an efficient means to enhance their financial literacy.
In 2022, the UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles facilitated a collective intelligence exercise with women entrepreneurs from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Mauritius and Rodrigues. During the session, numerous women entrepreneurs voiced their apprehensions regarding their limited financial literacy. Many among them were facing challenges in complying with regulatory bodies such as the Mauritius Revenue Authority and felt uneasy when making crucial financial decisions for their respective businesses.
To respond to this situation, the UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab initiated an experiment to test the following hypothesis: any woman entrepreneur of Mauritius, with or without any prior knowledge of finance, could learn basic finance through short videos in Mauritian Creole and a peer-to-peer online learning platform. The Accelerator Lab was able to secure partnerships for the experiment with great success. The University of Mauritius was responsible for scripting and producing the videos, while SME Mauritius and the National Women Entrepreneur Council generously shared a portion of their vast database of women entrepreneurs from Mauritius and Rodrigues.
Defining the topics
In October 2022, the Accelerator Lab and the University of Mauritius held a meeting to discuss the upcoming experiment, including the financial themes to be presented in the videos. Professor Boopen Seetanah, Dr. Goonesh Bahadur, and Dr. Viraiyan Teeroovengadum provided their support and expertise to create a list of topics, which was later consolidated with different groups of women entrepreneurs. After several consultations, the following topics were chosen:
• Understanding the Business Cycle
• Understanding Financial Statements
• Financial Statements Analysis
• Working Capital Management
• Budgeting and Investment Appraisal
• Costing and Cost Classification
• Statutory Compliance
The scripting, production and editing of the videos took an additional 3 months, and twelve 10-minute clips addressing the different financial topics, were finally uploaded on YouTube in January 2023.
On 11 February 2022, all the stakeholders, including representatives of the UNDP Accelerator Lab, lecturers from the University of Mauritius teams and 30 women entrepreneurs, met at the University of Mauritius to kick-start the experiment. During the meeting, the UNDP Accelerator Lab Team highlighted the benefits of using digital solutions, which enable learners to study at their own pace. They also pointed out that the success of this initiative could lead to its expansion and help even more women entrepreneurs. On the other hand, the representatives of the University of Mauritius emphasized the importance of conducting the experiment in a structured manner. This included conducting a baseline test to evaluate the current level of financial literacy among the entrepreneurs. The results of the baseline test would be compared to those of a final evaluation after two months of learning from the YouTube videos in creole. Furthermore, they discussed the use of an online forum for peer-to-peer interactions among the entrepreneurs and the academics.
The next steps
The experiment has been progressing well since its start in February, with good user engagement and interaction between the women entrepreneurs and academics on the WhatsApp peer-to-peer platform. The experiment is expected to conclude in mid-April 2023, after which the University of Mauritius team will submit a final report on the experience and participants will receive certificates of completion. Overall, this experiment has the potential to empower women entrepreneurs in Mauritius and Seychelles with the financial knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their businesses, and it will be interesting to see the outcomes of the final evaluation.
Watch this space!
This blog was written with the contributions of Dr. Boopen Seetanah, Professor of International Trade, Finance and Development Economics at the University of Mauritius, Dr. Kesseven Padachi, Professor of Accounting and Finance at the University of Technology Mauritius, Dr. Goonesh Bahadur, Senior Lecturer and Officer in Charge of the Centre for Innovative Lifelong Learning (CILL) at the University of Mauritius and Dr. Viraiyan Teeroovengadum, Senior Lecturer in Management at the University of Mauritius.
The UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab is open to partnering with interested organizations for similar projects. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org