The National SME Incubator Scheme (NSIS) aims at consolidating the sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem in Mauritius in which Government and accredited private sector incubators work in partnership to foster the growth and development of innovative businesses. Under the NSIS framework, the Government and the private sector incubators provide training and mentoring, co-financing opportunities, office space and other relevant resources to nurture: (i) innovative ideas, (ii) early business start-ups and (iii) SMEs willing to expand their activities and explore new markets. The NSIS adopts a holistic approach geared towards providing a new thrust to the SME sector in Republic of Mauritius in terms of creation of Innovative businesses. The MRC has been given the task to operate, manage and monitor the NSIS on behalf of the Government.
1.1. Accredited Incubators
The scheme came into operation since February 2017 and to date there are four (4) accredited incubators
- Turbine Incubator Ltd, (turbine.mu);
- Verde Ventures, (http://www.verdefrontier.mu/ventures/)
- La Plage Factory, (coworking.mu/incubator);
- Ventures AA, (ventures.angloafrican.com/).
These incubators are private-sector driven, not for profit incubators. Any surplus that is generated are ploughed back in the incubation schemes and is considered as private sector funding. The NSIS part funds the operational costs of the accredited incubators. Services eligible for part funding under the NSIS include coaching, mentoring consultancies, rent, utilities and access to infrastructure and access to venture capitalists.
In October 2017, the MRC launched a National Campaign named ‘StartMe Up’ for candidates to apply for the NSIS. Eligible candidates included:
- Individuals or group of individuals motivated to transform their innovative ideas into a potential business (Pre-incubation phase);
- Early Business Start-ups willing to reinforce their business venture while benefiting from the ecosystem provided by the accredited incubator (Incubation Phase);
- Established SMEs willing to expand their activities further with the expert advice/financial and technical support from Accredited Incubators (Acceleration Phase)
Registration with the ‘Start Me Up’ Campaign is ongoing.
1.3. Progress to date
To date, NSIS has serviced 78 incubatees categorized in the following phases:
- Pre-incubation phase: incubatees motivated to transform their innovative ideas into a potential business; (51 projects in the pre-incubation phase)
- Incubation Phase: Early Business Start-ups willing to reinforce their business venture while benefiting from the ecosystem provided by the accredited incubator; (26 projects in the incubation phase) and
- Acceleration Phase: Established SMEs willing to expand their activities further with the expert advice/financial and technical support from Accredited Incubators (1 project in acceleration phase)
Out of the 78 projects incubated by the NSIS:
- 5 start-ups have successfully graduated and are currently operating independently and are faring very well as per the Incubators’ report.
- 4 Projects have been terminated prematurely due to unsatisfactory progress
- 44 projects have successfully completed the incubation phases but the project leaders were not willing to continue with the business implementation
- 14 projects are currently ongoing with their respective incubation phases.
The total project value of the 78 projects amounts to approximately Rs 28.2M. The NSIS has agreed to part fund a sum of Rs 12.3M the remaining cost, i.e. Rs 15.9 M is the contribution of the NSIS accredited Incubators and the Incubatees.
1.5. Highlights of the potential impacts of NSIS
- The NSIS is a special public private partnership which is intended to foster an innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystem in Mauritius.
- The collaboration between the public and private sector plays a key role in mitigating the inherent risk of business incubation and creation of sustainable businesses in Mauritius.
- The Government leverages on the expertise of the private sector incubators to guide, coach and mentor ideas/businesses from the public with a view to creating innovative businesses.
List of Accredited NSIS Incubators