Mobilising Women Entrepreneurs in the Green Economy – A focus on agri-food value chains
December 17, 2022
On 15 and 16 December, the UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab and the Socio-Economic Unit (SEDU) partnered with the National Women Entrepreneur Council (NWEC) to organise a workshop aimed at creating opportunities and encouraging women to enter the Agri-food entrepreneurial ecosystem. The 2-day workshop, attended by over 100 women entrepreneurs, included testimonies from participants, group discussion and networking opportunities.
Mauritius imports around 75% of its food and this heavy reliance on global supply chains makes it increasingly vulnerable. Achieving food security and food self-sufficiency is thus crucial for the country. It is nowadays fundamental to produce food locally and to promote a space for entrepreneurship in the areas of agri-food value chains. This includes developing strategic partnerships between inter-dependent businesses in the agricultural sector, such as producers, processors, and retailers.
In this context, the UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Accelerator Lab has partnered with the NWEC to mobilise more women towards the green economy. This collaboration seeks to put forward the expertise of the NWEC to better prepare, coach and mentor women to develop their ideas and create income-generating activities. This capacity building will be done through Accelerator Lab methodologies in public sector innovation, and by leveraging the network of more than 900 active members of the NWEC. The initiative also includes the co-development of a roadmap for income generation for women entrepreneurs.
The workshop also provided an opportunity for women to share about the opportunities, challenges, and gaps faced by women entrepreneurs in the agri-enterprise value chain. Through group discussions, participants were able to further share their perspectives and create networks with other entrepreneurs to explore areas of future collaboration.
Day 2 of the workshop included a presentation from the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (FAREI) and a panel discussion with representatives from the NWEC, the Economic Development Board and the NGO ‘Farmers in Agriculture, Livestock, Cooperative, Organic Network’ (FALCON) Association. They discussed opportunities available for Mauritian entrepreneurs to tap into the African Market, through platforms such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The way forward.
In January 2023, the UNDP and the NWEC will work on the second phase of this collaboration. This will involve designing a training of 3-months for 50 women entrepreneurs to be incubated in the agri-food value chains. This will first involve a deep dive into existing opportunities while identifying new and promising areas of the agri-food value chain where women can lead successful businesses. These businesses aim to also address the Sustainable Development Goals, namely, food security, decent work and economic growth and gender equality.