No economically successful country can run using less than half of its business resources. Mauritius is no exception. Women in Mauritius make up over half the business force and their contribution has not been adequately nurtured. This study seeks to highlight the profile, motivations and constraints of women entrepreneurs in Mauritius. In an attempt to address the unavailability of current nationally representative data, the University of Mauritius, under the leadership and guidance of Dr Baguant, commissioned a number of field works fully sponsored and monitored
by the Mauritius Research Council. The objective of this research was to assist policy makers in Mauritius, especially
institutions who have direct link with women entrepreneurs, in identifying the profile, the motivations and constraints that women entrepreneurs face in the country. The findings of this research can thus be used by decision makers in developing strategies to overcome the respective challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. The report is divided into 3 main sections: a concise literature review on women entrepreneurs, the findings and the recommendations. The study identified a number of factors such as access to capital, inadequate training as well as discrimination as major constraints affecting the establishment as well as the expansion of womenâs entrepreneurial activities. Women normally rely on personal income to provide the initial finance for their enterprises. It was found that most women entrepreneurs were based within a nuclear family (husband, wife and children). All the businesses in the sample are from registered source, that is, they are either member of the National Women Entrepreneur Council or the SMEDA. The Women-owned registered or formal businesses generally dominate over informal businesses. A number of sectors were included so as to get a holistic view of the women entrepreneursâ specificities in each of them, namely, Agriculture, Textile,Food, ICT, Services, Automobile,Wood, Animal Products, Footwear, Textiles, Health & Beauty and Tourism. 65% of the women entrepreneurs who disclosed their turnovers generated revenues between 0 â Rs. 100 000. A significant portion of these businesses have made capital investments between Rs 0 â Rs. 500 000.
Mauritius women businesses tended to be businesses that are:
â¢ Run by women between 36 and 45 years of age
â¢ Most women have done mostly secondary and/or primary education
â¢ Spread around the island
â¢ Present mostly in Agriculture, Food, Textile & Services sectors.
The majority of the women entrepreneurs are in operation for below 10 years. Furthermore, a large proportion of women operate from their homes because there are no places to expose their products. Most Mauritian women entrepreneurs have not reached the stage of operating in a global environment as only 64% of the women have a business bank account. Most Mauritian women entrepreneurs have started their businesses for financial reasons. Furthermore, in the continuum of surviving to maintain the growth of thriving businesses, 54% of our respondents indicated that they were simply maintaining their businesses. Thus women also need training around growth strategies and how to translate this growth strategy to operational tactics to grow their businesses. Related to growth was the issue of needing financial support and marketing support to meet their future expectations. On average, 53% of women are aware of intuitions like SMEDA and National Women Entrepreneur Council but others like Ministry of Commerce and women organizations are not that well known in assisting entrepreneurship in Mauritius. There was low awareness of marketing assistance, tendering advice and research in women entrepreneurship in Mauritius.