The insights gathered will inform the drafting of a national strategy and action plan, which will help ensure that women are able to participate actively as key stakeholders in the social and economic landscape of the country.
The UNDP supports the development of a National Strategy for Women Entrepreneurs
June 24, 2022
On Wednesday 22 June, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Welfare in collaboration with UNDP Mauritius Country Office, organized a national consultative workshop regarding the development of a National Strategy and Action Plan for Women Entrepreneurs. The event aimed at creating a dialogue between institutions and women entrepreneurs, and enabling the development of concrete measures to further contribute to women entrepreneurship development in Mauritius. It was attended by 50 high level stakeholders from the public and private sector including representatives from the National Women Entrepreneurship Council, Association Mauricienne des Femmes Chef d’Entrepreprises, Business Mauritius, the Academia, the Economic Development Board, and the Banking Sector, among others.
In his welcome address, the Head of the Planning and Research Unit of the Ministry thanked the UNDP for its unflinching support towards women’s socio-economic empowerment and gender equality. He explained that the National Strategy will be accompanied by a costed action plan which will guide its implementation. During her speech, the Head of the Socio-Economic Development Unit, UNDP, highlighted the importance of having a coordinated strategy and invited participants to explore possibilities of engaging in trade with the African Continent.
This event follows a first workshop held in October 2021 to initiate a national report establishing the trade profile of women entrepreneurs in Mauritius, as part of the Women in Trade Protocol under the African Continent Free Trade Agreement. As a follow up to this previous initiative, the UNDP is extending technical assistance to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Welfare to draft the national strategy and action plan on Women Entrepreneurship Development in Mauritius. It is expected that this strategy will lead to the development of a business-friendly environment for entrepreneurs, and the formulation of a realistic action plan for the medium and long term to support sustainable and high-level women entrepreneurship development and production. The initiative is also in line with Government’s action towards women’s economic empowerment.
Developing a national strategy with the collaboration of the public and private sector
During the event, the national consultant, Ms. Lillka Cuttaree, shared the findings from the desk study and focus group discussions held to understand women’s entrepreneurship sector in Mauritius, highlighting the profiles of women entrepreneurs with a special focus on the impact of COVID-19 on women economic empowerment and trends of women micro enterprises in the country. She also highlighted the importance of collaborating and adopting a more inclusive approach, in terms of data collection, rejuvenating the entrepreneurship sector, and a clustering approach in terms of development of a national strategy with collaboration from the public and private sectors.
This was followed by a group discussion where participants had the opportunity to reflect and share solutions regarding five strategic areas of entrepreneurship development, namely branding and promotion; access to markets; ecosystems, agencies and partnerships; skills development and mentoring; and the national action plan.
The first presentation focused on ‘branding and development’, whereby participants stressed on the good understanding of communication and branding, and on the importance of innovating through digital technologies and online platforms to showcase products.
When talking about ‘access to market, supply chains and procurement’, the entrepreneurs highlighted the need to create additional space for showcasing locally produced products, such as in duty free shops and through social media.
The discussion also explored the possibility of leveraging existing ‘ecosystems, agencies and partnerships’ to mainstream gender in policies and make space for the emergence of new profiles of entrepreneurs.
When it comes to ‘skill development, mentoring and monitoring’, participants referred to the potential screening of all registered entrepreneurs, which will enable institutions to offer specific training and customized coaching programmes. The last segment of the discussion focused on the review of the legislation of the National Women Entrepreneurship Council as part of the ‘national action plan.’
In the vote of thanks, the UNDP Gender Expert, stated that the insights gathered from these discussions will now inform the drafting of a national strategy and action plan, and once validated, will help ensure that women are able to participate actively as key stakeholders in the social and economic landscape of the country.
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