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AfricaMoney | September 22, 2017

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Mauritius highlights export avenues for start-ups; asks SMEs for alternative to plastic bags

Mauritius highlights export avenues for start-ups; asks SMEs for alternative to plastic bags

Entrepreneurs in Mauritius have been afforded a golden opportunity to discover export avenues for local products under the National Institute for Cooperative Entrepreneurship (NICE) awareness programme, while the SME Innovation Grant Scheme (SIGS), on its part, has invited SMEs to develop an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags.(Image: composite)

The National Institute for Cooperative Entrepreneurship (NICE) organised a workshop with around 60 entrepreneurs participating in a half day awareness programme on export avenues for local products, to create awareness among cooperative entrepreneurs on overseas opportunities and procedures involved in mercantile exports.

During the workshop, the importance of the Barcode was also discussed, with the event accordingly focusing on twin themes of ‘Export opportunities’, and ‘GS1-Your ticket to national and international trade/Importance and benefits of Bar Code.’

The Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Soomilduth Bholah, highlighted his vision to make the cooperative movement a key partner in the second socio-economic miracle that the government is working towards.

To that end, he expressed the belief that cooperatives should be given all the support, skills and knowledge, as well as infrastructure, to be able to thrive. He also laid emphasis on the fact that more cooperatives should export their products, thereby contributing to the economic growth and development of the island economy.

Soomilduth Bholah further highlighted that entrepreneurs should take into consideration several factors including, among others, product adaptability, demand in potential export markets, demographic and physical environment, laws and regulations aimed at protecting health of consumers and the environment, social and cultural environment, market access and product potential.

Next, referring to the benefits of using a barcode, the minister stressed that it improves operational efficiency, reduces errors, saves time, and cuts costs.

In a related development, the SME Innovation Grant Scheme (SIGS) has invited Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), start-up companies, or a consortium of SMEs and start-up companies, to submit project proposals on the theme ‘Innovative and environment friendly alternatives to plastic bags’.

The expected outcome will be an innovative prototype which has significant potential to be used as an alternative to the plastic bags currently being used, and/or a new process for developing these alternatives.

The objectives of SIGS are to provide, on a competitive basis, incentives to SMEs and start-ups to create innovative prototypes/products/processes and to develop technology having potentially high socio-economic benefits. The overall aim is to improve the competitive edge of Mauritius through collaborative research and development of innovative ideas, leading to commercialisation and creation of jobs and wealth. It may further be noted that the SIGS is restricted to specific themes of national priority.

Interested parties have up to 19 June 2015 to submit their application on the form downloadable from the MRC website ( The maximum duration for funding the project is six months, at the end of which, one out of the five awardees who would have developed the best innovative prototype/process/product will be given the opportunity to compete for the Collaborative Research and Innovation Grant Scheme (CRIGS).

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