‘Business Without Borders’, a unique digital mentoring program for women entrepreneurs in the Western Indian Ocean, part of a collaborative project between business leaders in Australia and Mauritius which is being supported by the Australian Government and the Mauritius Commercial Bank, was launched earlier today in Port Louis.
The official launching ceremony of the project, organised in the margins of the celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Mauritius and Australia, took place in the presence of the Mauritian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, the Hon Nandcoomar Bodha GCSK. and Australia’s new High Commissioner, HE Dr Kate O’Shaughnessy, who were joined by representatives from the Association Mauricienne des Femmes Chefs d’Entreprise (AMFCE), Women Chiefs of Enterprises International Australia (WCEI) and women entrepreneurs from the region.
In the first year, the digitalised ‘Business Without Borders’ program will bring together 50 mentors from around the world and 50 mentees from Mauritius, Rodrigues, Comoros, Madagascar and Seychelles for eight months’ collaboration and learning, with intakes expected to expand in subsequent years.
The aim of the program is to strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs and business women’s associations of the Western Indian Ocean through peer-to-peer sharing of experience, supported by an extensive bilingual digital training program with modules in business acumen, compliance and management, strategic planning, establishing a digital presence, marketing essentials, financial management, people and culture and leadership.
Commenting on the program, Australia’s High Commissioner, Dr Kate O’Shaughnessy said: “Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is at the very core of Australia’s foreign, trade and aid policy. We are so proud to partner with AMFCE on the third phase of this program, supporting women entrepreneurs in Mauritius, Rodrigues, Madagascar, Seychelles and Comoros to achieve their full potential and contribute to the economic development of their countries. In these difficult times, leveraging the talents and abilities of the whole of society isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”
According to the project lead from Australia, Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises Mondiales (FCEM) Oceanic Regional Commissioner, Ms Diane Tompson, the digitilisation of the ‘Business Without Borders’ program was a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Business Without Borders project has been a labour of love for a number of dedicated women in Australia and Mauritius for the past five years,” explains Ms Tompson, “and follows a series of inspired conversations with my Mauritian counterpart, Ms Aline Wong, as early as 2014, to deliver this ongoing series of face-to-face presentations and mentoring. Covid-19 fast-tracked our move to digitalise the program, which will deliver greater longevity for the program and allow us to reach a greater number of women.”
Rima Ramsaran, President of the Association Mauricienne des Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises (AMFCE), commented: “Business Without Borders is not only about mentoring. Mentoring is supported and is topped up with clearly explained management modules, made simple and practical and the digitalization of the whole program via the Talent Learning Management System gives a networking platform to mentors and mentees, both local and international, that may pave the way for eventual business collaborations.” Ms Ramsaran spoke also about the value of mentoring. “Mentors are enablers, catalysts! Entrepreneurship can be a very lonely world, especially for women. Mentors therefore turn on the light and make a difference in the mentees’ professional life.”
In Mauritius, the Business Without Borders program is sponsored by the Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB). The MCB has a long track record of supporting entrepreneurship and sustainability in Mauritius, namely through its flagship program Success Beyond Numbers. Alain Law Min, its Chief Executive Officer, stated: “MCB’s support for AMFCE is in line with our philosophy for greater inclusion of women at all levels. Through our Success Beyond Numbers program and our various commitments, we want to send a strong message in favor of the promotion of women in Mauritian society and in the sphere of entrepreneurship in particular. Women have a key role to play, both socially and economically. And the AMFCE is a good example to follow, because this platform allows women to mentor other women. We will remain resolutely alongside women and the AMFCE to enable them to reach their full potential in order to fully play their role in the country.”
The launching ceremony was dedicated to the memory of Mrs Margaret Pan Sin, AMFCE past President (2013-2015). It was under her mandate that the Australian Coaching & Mentoring Program for Women Entrepreneurs in the Indian Ocean region, the backbone for the Business Without Borders program, was developed in 2015. Guests observed a minute of silence to honor her contribution to women entrepreneurship in Mauritius.
24 September 2020