The Acting President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Barlen Vyapoory and the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah were present yesterday at the Hennessy Park Hotel in Ebène for the launching the second edition of the Challenge Startupper de l’Année. The Director General of Total Mauritius, Mrs Patricia Buisson-Hays-Narbonne, as well as other eminent personalities were also present.

In his keynote address, the Acting President of the Republic underlined that the Challenge Startupper de l’Année is a commendable competition to encourage aspiring young entrepreneurs to come forward with their business ideas. Youngsters, he emphasised, are imbued with enormous potentials and competencies but are often hesitant to present those ideas in front of the world.

On this score, he highlighted that the challenge will provide a platform for youngsters to express their thoughts and opinions relating to innovative business plans. This initiative of the Total Group is a perfect example of the engagement of the private sector to sustain Government efforts for the promotion of entrepreneurship, he said.

As regards boosting the confidence of young entrepreneurs, Mr Vyapoory called on the latter to use their talents and skills judiciously in developing resourceful business ideas that will help widen the scope in the SME sector.

For his part, Minister Bholah outlined that fostering a culture of entrepreneurship among the youth with the aim to reduce unemployment is one of the top priorities of Government. According to a survey conducted on youth entrepreneurship, he observed that due to a lack in job opportunities, 37% of young entrepreneurs preferred setting up their own businesses. It is therefore essential to address challenges faced by the youth when developing a business plan and come up with programs will help unlock their potentials, he added.

The Challenge Startupper, according to the Minister, will help identify, reward and support aspiring entrepreneurs in their business ventures. SME Mauritius Ltd will offer counseling and mentoring services to the winners of this competition for a period of two years and will assist in the creation or development of their projects.

The Minister urged the youth avail themselves of the support they are being provided by the Total Group and SME Mauritius Ltd while adding that entrepreneurship offers young people with a plethora of opportunities to turn their passion into reality. He invited young entrepreneurs to register themselves and gear up for the competition with a handful of innovative ideas.

The Director General of Total Mauritius, Mrs Patricia Buisson-Hays-Narbonne, recalled that some 55 countries are participating in the 2nd edition of the Challenge Startupper de l’Annee and that three winners from each country will benefit from financial support, publicity and coaching, to eventually participate in a grand regional competition. A Top Female Entrepreneur category has been introduced this year to encourage greater women participation in the challenge, she said.

Source: Source: Government of Mauritius