The transformative journey of Mauritius outlined in the Budget 2018-2019 highlights the potential of harnessing Artificial Intelligence for the promotion of an innovative and inclusive entrepreneurship.

A new Mauritius Innovation and Entrepreneurship Framework will be established so as to provide free service to Small and Medium businesses that wish to operate internationally, develop their online presence and increase their linkages with local entrepreneurs. The framework will also provide the youth with a free 24/7 open space for cross-disciplinary thinking, brainstorming, and prototyping so that they can create globally competitive technologies in the future.

Budget 2018-2019 aims to empower young inventors and entrepreneurs to push their ideas into the market and refine them accordingly; attract more investors for raising capital; and adopt state-of-the-art technologies such as 3D printing, machining, local datacentre and digital library.

It also addresses one of the main concerns of micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs), that is, access to finance. A sum of

Rs 1 billion has been earmarked by the Development Bank of Mauritius (DBM) to support the MSMEs through a set of schemes. They are as follows:

Loan facilities for start-ups, young entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs at an interest rate of 3 percent

Provision of loans of up to Rs 3 million to planters engaging in sheltered farming at an interest rate of 3 percent, with a moratorium on capital repayment in the first year

A maximum of Rs 1 million as loan to operators of organic farms with a moratorium of 2 years, on capital repayment, depending on the project

Easing the cash flow of businesses whereby a VAT-registered person will not be required to pay VAT on import of machinery and equipment, if the amount payable is Rs 150 000 or more

Moreover, the DBM will operate an Enterprise Modernisation Scheme aimed at offering finance lease facilities to MSMEs with turnover up to Rs 10 million in order to modernise their plant and equipment. A factoring window will also be made operational for providing quick working capital to MSMEs by discounting their invoices. In addition, the DBM through a new Hand-holding and Mentoring Cell will lend non-financial support to the MSMEs.

Source: Government of Mauritius