A workshop on ‘Promoting and managing innovation in enterprises and institutions’ opened today at Cyber Tower 1, in EbAne Cyber-city, to enable knowledge-sharing among innovation experts and entrepreneurs wishing to undertake novel ways of doing business for more productive outcomes.

The one-day event is organised at the initiative of the Mauritius Research Council (MRC), a department operating under the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation. It is bringing together over a hundred local stakeholders including SMEs from various sectors, multi-institutional service-providers from both the public and private sectors, as well as academics.

In his opening address, the Minister of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms and Acting Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Marie Cyril Eddy Boissezon, spoke about the need for SMEs to innovate, the more so, within a context which is increasingly marked by fierce competition and rapidly-changing technologies. Innovation is vital for developing and sustaining competitive advantages and ensure future businesses for SMEs, he pointed out.

According to the Minister, Government is laying much emphasis on innovation and is fully acknowledging that investing in innovation is indeed an investment in our future. As was announced in the last Budget Speech, the mandate of the MRC is being reviewed and the Council will soon be known as the Mauritius Innovation and Research Council (MIRC), he said. In this context, the MIRC will be empowered to promote the application of scientific and technological knowledge to meet the Mauritian needs for socioeconomic development, he added.

For his part, the chairperson on the MRC, Dr Michael Atchia, remarked that prior to approving research ventures, two key points are identified, namely: focus on projects which will have a socioeconomic and industrial impact on people’s lives; and, choosing clarity over certainty as certainty in science does not exist.

Additionally, Dr Atchia emphasised that it is also important to recognise the amount of money which Government has invested in the MRC and the Tertiary Education Commission for research. The result of the research may take longer but so as to guarantee the future of Mauritius it is really necessary to invest in research, he said.

The Workshop

The key resource person is Mr Godwin, Fulbright Specialist, who intervened on the theme ‘How do you build entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems?’ He spoke about the short-term goals of efficiently devising strategies to inspire innovation in SMEs with limited capital and resources. Mr Godwin also presented a case study of how to build an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem which focused on Washington DC from Government Town to Regional Innovation Hub.

Other presentations are addressing the following: Linkages between Enterprises and Institutions; and, Team up for Industry Initiative: Challenging Innovation with an Ecosystem Approach. Resource persons are from CareerHub.mu; Turbine; and, Association of Mauritian Manufacturers.

Topics being discussed comprise: Tools and techniques to promote innovation and commercialisation; Training and mentoring of new ventures and SMEs through incubators; Linkages between enterprises and institutions; and, Accessing international innovation support systems.

It is envisaged that the discussions and subsequent recommendations during the workshop will serve to strengthen and refine the range of support mechanisms, which benefit innovation among enterprises and institutions. The workshop is in line with the MRC’s actions geared towards the development of mechanisms supporting innovation to enhance enterprises’/institutions’ potential for growth and competitiveness.

Source: Government of Mauritius