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 MRIC 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 three (3) accredited incubators
1. Turbine Incubator Ltd, (turbine.mu);
3. La Plage Factory, (coworking.mu/incubator);
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.
- A maximum amount of Rs 50,000 for 9 months.
- Early Business Start-ups willing to reinforce their business venture while benefiting from the ecosystem provided by the accredited incubator.
- A maximum amount of Rs 400,000 for 18 months
- Acceleration Phase
- Established SMEs willing to expand their activities further with the expert advice/financial and technical support from Accredited Incubators.
- A maximum amount of Rs 300,000 for 6 months.
Registration with the ‘Start Me Up’ Campaign is ongoing.
1.3. Progress to date
To date, NSIS has serviced 131 incubatees categorized in the following phases:
- Pre-incubation phase: incubatees motivated to transform their innovative ideas into a potential business; (87 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; (39 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 (5 projects in acceleration phase)
Out of the 131 projects incubated by the NSIS:
- 11 start-ups have successfully graduated and are currently operating independently and are faring very well as per the Incubators’ report.
- 12 Projects have been terminated prematurely due to unsatisfactory progress
- 65 projects have successfully completed the pre-incubation phases but the project leaders were not willing to continue with the business implementation
- 21 start-ups
graduated from pre-incubation to incubation phase
- 22 projects are currently ongoing with their respective incubation phases.
The total project value of the 131 projects amounts to approximately Rs103.2M. The NSIS has agreed to part fund a sum of Rs17.9M the remaining cost, i.e. Rs85.3 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.
- Incubator-Incubatee Meetup session- The MRIC met with incubatees on 2
occasions since 2017, notably on the 15th December 2017 and 13th
March 2019. The purposes of these sessions were to (i)
provide information on the NSIS to incubatees, (ii) to listen to any
comments/issues/queries/recommendations and (iv) inform them of the MRIC
schemes they might be eligible to apply for.
- Incubatee Performance monitoring session- As part of
its regular monitoring process, the MRIC requests each incubator to submit
a progress report for each incubated project. In this report, the
Incubator assesses the progress of the project and recommends either the
continuation or the termination of the said project. Based on this
progress report, the MRIC disburses the subsequent funds in connection
with the project.
- MeltingPot- the MeltingPot 2020 was a pitch
session event, which took place on the 14th February 2020. The
targeted participants for the event was all start-ups (including graduated NSIS
incubatees) who still needed
further assistance in order to start operating to their full potential. The
MRIC in collaboration with the CL Educate Ltd organised the Start-up Next:
Pitch Session at Meltingpot2020 Innovation
Summit where Angel Investors brought their expert assistance and
facilitate the ‘Go-to-Market ‘phase. The investment
opportunities ranged from USD 20,000 to 200,000. Only 20 best were selected to pitch their projects whereby one start-up
won the event namely Bonnier Group Ltd and the runner ups
RWAZI Ltd & Talenteum.
List of Accredited NSIS Incubators