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AfricaMoney | October 20, 2017

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GoSME: A program to empower Mauritian SMEs

GoSME: A program to empower Mauritian SMEs

John Heap, President of the World Confederation of Productivity Science, stated that higher productivity is possible in SMEs, and, through productivity improvement, wealth is created for the economy as a whole.

In a welcome move for small and medium business enterprises in Mauritius, an SME productivity program targeted at firms with annual turnover below Rs 50 million has been kicked off today.

The launch of the SMEs Productivity Program, GoSME, in Mauritius was officially announced during a workshop held at the Cyber Tower 1 in Ebene by guest speaker John Heap.

The theme of the launch event, which saw the island economy’s Finance Minister Xavier-Luc Duval in attendance, was “Productivity for SMEs” .

Heap, Managing Director of the Institute of Productivity and President of the World Confederation of Productivity Science, shared his comprehensive and incisive views and techniques for improving the productivity of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Mauritius.

He stated that higher productivity is possible in SMEs, and, through productivity improvement, wealth is created for the economy as a whole.

As Budget 2014 assigned the National Productivity and Competitiveness Council (NPCC) to train 500 SMEs on productivity, the NPCC created the Growth Opportunity for SME (GoSME) program to improve the productivity of SMEs through in-plant training and a productivity champion of the enterprise.

Its objective is to empower SMEs to improve their internal systems and processes in order to be more competitive on the market.

According to Heap, SMEs should look at social, economic and environmental productivity. It is important for SMEs to talk to people about common problems so as to learn from others.

“The government needs to give simple advice on how to export,” said Heap.

“John understands completely the process that we use to implement the project. There are steps from foundation to excellence which we are going through and the vision of the minister is to get SMEs to reach the highest levels,” said Vijayelaksme Goorah, Productivity specialist at NPCC.

“SMEs are doing well but they face issues in balancing internal needs and external demands. So, we have to assist them to be efficient internally to meet customer needs, as clients are becoming more and more demanding. That’s why they need to imbibe key learnings from the GoSME project,” Goorah added.

The textile sector is amongst the worst sufferers as it is steadily losing ground to modern sectors such as BPO and tourism that bring in more revenue, she noted.

The market is not promising for the textile sector as they face low-cost competition from abroad, especially China, and it is very challenging for the big textile firms in Mauritius to compete on prices and still meet overhead expenses. Moreover, most textile majors are dependent on external labour.

“It is good for us, the SMEs, to improve ourselves and our businesses so as to reach the highest standards of business excellence. We need to be at the top to expand our business and change our vision to be more productive,” said Anand Ramrooch, Director at SME firm, Computer Systems Solution.

“Like John said, we need to listen more and speak less, thus it is important for us to take all his advice,” he added on a light note.

Based on a first come first served basis, SMEs are required to fill an application to enroll in the SME Productivity Improvement Programme which will be divided into 3 parts: analysis, training and implementation.

- By Marie-Lorry Coret

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