The Government has put in place all the enablers to achieve the ambition of making the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector the backbone of an inclusive and sustainable economy. With a strong collaborative support and the opportunities offered by technology, we envision our SMEs to succeed on the local market and to further catalyse our export base by going global'.

This statement was made by the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, this morning, at the opening ceremony of a workshop at La Cannelle, in Domaine Les Pailles. The workshop is focusing on 'Strengthening the ecosystem for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Start-Ups'. The Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, as well as other personalities were present. The workshop is organised by the Economic Development Board under the theme 'Positioning MSMEs and Start-ups as Catalysts for Economic Growth'.

In his address, Minister Bholah underlined that MSMEs, with a contribution of about 40% to the Mauritius' GDP and representing 54.6% of total employment, play a key role in our economy. To further position and guide MSMEs to become catalysts for economic growth, a 10-Year Master Plan setting forth an enabling ecosystem for increased productivity and efficiency has been elaborated, he pointed out. By 2026, he indicated, the contribution of MSMEs to GDP is expected to rise from 40% to 52%, and MSMEs share of the total national employment is to increase from 55% to 64% and contribution to exports to grow to 18%.

The Minister underscored the strong impetus being provided by Government to techno-preneurs for the emergence of a new breed of MSMEs driven by niche skills, know-how and a sound use of emerging technologies. In addition, he spoke of Government's strong support to the SME community in helping to tackle all inherent issues that hinders the realisation of their full potential. He thus elaborated on the plethora of schemes, incentives and support mechanism offered. These include: the SME Certification Scheme, the SME Productivity Improvement Scheme, Green Energy Promotion Scheme, the Mentoring and Hand-holding Programme, and the National Incubator Scheme.

Speaking about the wave of change driven by digitalisation, Mr Bholah stressed on the need for MSMEs to follow the trend in their quest for market access, productivity and efficiency, and product quality and visibility improvement.

As for Minister Seeruttun, he highlighted that Government in its strive to build a new economy, considers MSMEs and Start-Ups as one of the lynchpins of the new economic agenda. MSMEs, he stated, offer significant resilience as a flexible backbone of the economy, mirroring the swings of business cycles through increased diversification of economic activities, as well as provide credible alternatives to imports and shielding the economy from the whims of the global economic environment.

According to the Minister, it is thus imperative to consider the potential impact and advantages that MSMEs and Start-Ups and the start-up ecosystem can confer. He also emphasised the need to come up with a properly elaborated framework for MSMEs development, to spur economic growth and progress on several fronts, with the economics of nurturing their expansion.

Minister Seeruttun further reiterated Government's commitment to address key challenges that come in the way of the development of MSMEs and Start-Ups that limit their ability to play their role fully in the economy, namely difficulties in getting timely and adequate access to finance, limited managerial competencies and organisational knowledge and non-availability of suitable technology. Government's objective, he said, is to ensure that MSMEs and Start-Ups that are being nurtured today become the vanguard of excellence for the future by adapting to innovative practices and by competing internationally.

Source: Republic of Mauritius