YES Mauritius Network Mahendranath Busgopaul, Country Coordinator Mentorship Pilot Programme for Young Entrepreneurs
Description of Project • Target Group • Private sector businesses and young entrepreneurs • Rationale for Intervention • Enable small scale businesses to contribute to the economic situation of the country • Provide a linkage between private sector and young entrepreneurs to facilitate sharing of resources • Project Goals • To increase the productivity of youth enterprises by providing a mentorship programme • Respond to aspirations of young entrepreneurs • Offer role models from private businesses • Build and develop capacity of young entrepreneurs
Project Design Principles • Establishment of a framework to ensure sustainability and growth of businesses supported by the programme • Select youth enterprises that are viable and provide mentors with clients that have a reasonable prospect of success • Ensure that mentors are qualified and experienced to support the business • A Conflict-free environment between mentors and young entrepreneurs • Mentors are a point of reference when entrepreneurs need advice and business support • Project Duration • The mentorship programme shall run for a period of one year as a pilot. • Project Inputs • Youth Development Network • Private sector in Mauritius • YES Mauritius Network
Project Cycle Conceptualization • The Youth Development Network (YDN) developed a framework for the implementation of the programme in five countries in the SADC region including Mauritius. • YDN and YES Mauritius believe young entrepreneurs need experienced businessmen to assist them navigate their way. • Incentives for mentors include: Mentor recognition at the end of the programme. • Protégés will be streamlined to benefit from government loans to expand their businesses through YES Mauritius structures.
Implementation • Implementation • The YES Mauritius Network, which comprises of 7 national organisations, implemented the mentorship programme in Mauritius. • YES Mauritius identified, recruited the mentors and protegés. Our staff provided the necessary advice to encourage the young entrepreneurs to get involved in the project. The initiation of the programme to other para-statal bodies was also important to have more people tied to the project.
The launch and opening ceremony of the mentorship programme was done by the Vice President of the Republic of Mauritius amidst other key personalities of the Republic and the Director of YDN. • After the launch, YES-Mauritius conducted a 3 day training programme for the mentors which was facilitated by one staff of YDN. After the training of mentors, there were orientation sessions for the protegés, carried out by YES Mauritius
What are the results? • Numbers of persons reached by the activities? • 8 Mentors ( 3 ladies and 5 men) from the private sector in Mauritius • Age range: 35 – 50 years committed for the one year • Mentors’ expertise range from aluminum manufacturing to import/export businesses. • 8 young entrepreneurs • Age range: 20 to 30 years • Location: rural and urban region • Response from Community The project has been going on for almost 7 months, and YES Mauritius has come up with the following responses from the community: • Government officials look the project as an enthusiastic one as it contributes positively towards the economy • Private sector are willing to release their staff to contribute towards capacity building purposes • Young entrepreneurs feel more confident and they are now acquainted with their respective mentors
YES Framework for Action Employability: The young entrepreneurs are working with their mentors who are involved in a separate field of work compared to the protegés area of work. The mentors impart their skills to the protegés for example, placement of goods in tourist area to boost up sales. Employment Creation: The result of this pilot project will culminate in the creation of employment for additional young people Equity: Equity has always been a major concern at YES Mauritius. Among our mentors and protegés, there are 6 females in total and given that Mauritius is a multi racial country, our mentors and protegés come from different religion and ethnic groups. We are providing the same facilities and advice irrespective of the protegés’ age
Entrepreneurship:Young people are encouraged to start to gain knowledge of entrepreneurial skills. This is being facilitated by skilled business people through the mentorship pilot project in Mauritius. • Environmental Sustainability: The mentors are looking closely about the environment aspect so as to make sure they do not go against the Ministry of Environment Regulations. • Empowerment: • Plans for the future (eg. Scale up, new goals for the YES Network based on experience) • As the programme reaches its end, young entrepreneurs will act as agents to impart business skills to potential young people with the same mindset.
Challenges and lessons learned • Problems Faced Difficulties we had to undergo: • Protegés: Reluctant to venture with strangers in business matters as it is seen as a private and personal matter. However, with the network staff and advice, we recruited around 10 protegés at the outset but afterwards some relinquished the programme. • Mentors: Lack of free to time to get engaged in community programme. The concept of volunteering business skills is still new • What new knowledge has been generated based on experiences? • Additional employment opportunities in small businesses will be created • A positive impact in the surrounding community through expanding small businesses competencies and capabilities • Development of a cooperative working environment among large and small businesses.