The award ceremony marks the culmination of an initiative spearheaded by the UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab.
30 Women entrepreneurs succeed in a Financial Literacy Experiment
September 8, 2023
An award ceremony organized by the United Nations Development Programme was held in Port-Louis on 07 September 2023 to celebrate the achievements of a group of women entrepreneurs who have successfully completed their training in Financial Literacy. The event was attended by Honourable Mrs. Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah, Minister of Gender Equality, Child Protection and Family Welfare, Her Excellency, Ms. Lisa Singh, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Mauritius, and Seychelles, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Mauritius, Associate Professor (Dr) Dinesh Surroop, and Ms. Amanda Serumaga, UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Resident Representative. Senior Officers of several Ministries and of the University of Mauritius, representatives of the Economic Development Board, SME Mauritius, the National Women Entrepreneur Council, the private sector, and other institutions were also present.
The award ceremony marks the culmination of an innovative initiative spearheaded by the Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab. This initiative sought to determine the efficacy of online courses in finance, employing video tutorials in Creole language and other digital solutions, in enhancing the financial literacy of local women entrepreneurs. This transformative experiment, conducted from March to April 2023, was a collaborative effort with the University of Mauritius. It encompassed a wide array of financial topics, including Understanding the Business Cycle, Interpreting Financial Statements, Efficient Working Capital Management, Strategic Budgeting, and Investment Appraisal, Proficient Costing and Cost Classification, and Statutory Compliance.
Throughout the course of this experiment, multiple assessments conducted by the University of Mauritius evidenced substantial enhancements in financial literacy within the participating cohort, especially among those who had limited prior knowledge of financial matters. The enrolled women entrepreneurs unanimously acknowledged the advantages of this novel approach, which facilitated self-paced learning while encouraging collective knowledge-sharing through user-friendly digital solutions. The potential to extend such pioneering experiences to a broader range of subjects in the future is a noteworthy consideration.
“The economic empowerment of women is not simply a moral imperative but also at the heart of a sound economic strategy.”
In her keynote address, Mrs. Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah, Minister of Gender Equality, Child Protection and Family Welfare acknowledged the initiative of the Mauritius Accelerator Lab to advance financial literacy and at the same time empowering women entrepreneurs. She emphasized that women entrepreneurs have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused setbacks in terms of gender equality. The minister is optimistic that Mauritius is doing progress in terms of women empowerment despite many challenges and obstacles. She highlighted initiatives undertaken by the NWEC and by her ministry with the collaboration of valuable partners such as the UNDP to further the cause of women entrepreneurs in the Republic of Mauritius.
Ms. Amanda Serumaga, UNDP Resident Representative, has highlighted UNDP’s partnership with the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Protection and Family Welfare to support the implementation of community and policy level actions including the review of the National Gender Policy Framework, enhancing skills of women in shelters and the development of a Women in Trade Protocol, and most recently the National Strategy for Women Entrepreneurs to enable women to be full participants in the social and economic landscape of the country. Ms. Serumaga added that: “the economic empowerment of women is not simply a moral imperative but also at the heart of a sound economic strategy.”
Associate Professor (Dr.) Dinesh Surroop, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Mauritius, has articulated the university's vision to transform into a research-focused and entrepreneurial institution. He emphasized that collaborating in initiatives aimed at empowering women aligns perfectly with the university's commitment to social responsibility and community engagement. Dr. Surroop also outlined various gender-sensitive projects in which the University of Mauritius is actively involved and expressed the university's readiness to expand its collaboration with UNDP, the Ministry, and other organizations to provide additional support to women entrepreneurs in the business sector.
The award ceremony also featured a series of informative presentations delivered by University of Mauritius lecturers and participants of the Financial Literacy Experiment. These contributions provided valuable insights into the methodology used for the experience and on the knowledge acquisition journey undertaken by women entrepreneurs.
One notable presentation delivered by Ms. Kheeran Bahadoor, from the Economic Development Board, focused on the theme "Export-Readiness and Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs in Regional Trade." It explored the potential for women entrepreneurs to engage in regional trade, highlighting the opportunities available beyond local markets. Complementing the presentations was an exhibition displaying a diverse range of products created and owned by this cohort of women entrepreneurs.
In summary, the award ceremony served as a multifaceted celebration of empowerment, education, and entrepreneurship. It underscored the collective commitment to enhancing financial literacy and economic prospects for women entrepreneurs and served as a poignant reminder of the transformative impact that empowering women with knowledge and resources can have on their communities and nations.
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