Georgina Ragaven is an advisor to the Ministry of Gender Equality and an active member of the
National Women Entrepreneur Council
( NWEC). This serial entrepreneur has always believed in and promoted women’s empowerment. His motto is “Always do your best and never give up”!
Hi Georgina, can you tell us about the path that led you to become a consultant at the Ministry of Equality and Gender?
I have worked since I was young and have been fortunate enough to have experience in various companies: fitness, training, PR, communication and CSR consultants. Becoming a consultant has always been something I wanted to do because throughout my career consulting and assistance have always been my strong points. Having worked in different fields and being resilient has contributed to my understanding of the world as it is today: being a woman and starting a business on your own is daunting, but with the right approach, information and guidance, it is possible to be a confident woman entrepreneur!
Can you tell us about the NWEC?
The National Women Entrepreneur Council is the organization that supports potential and existing women entrepreneurs in Mauritius. NWEC’s mission is to promote business women and instill the right entrepreneurial culture among women on the island. As of May 2017, there were 5565 women registered for the NWEC. They identify actions and projects that promote women’s entrepreneurship, assess the needs of women entrepreneurs, and establish trainings that aim to improve women’s management skills.
Is there an entrepreneurial awareness among Mauritian women today?
Despite the country’s considerable economic progress since its independence in 1968, Mauritius still lags behind other African countries in terms of gender equality. While the island is an example of democracy in Africa, and women represent 52% of the total population, they are less involved than men in all areas that require decision making. They are given less credit for their professionalism and in some areas they are not paid the same as men for the same position.
However, women have evolved enormously in recent times: the majority are aware of their rights. Today, they can be financially independent if they really believe in what they are doing. Women now know and can choose their priorities, but many are more confident that someone is there to help and coach them.
What is your image of the Mauritian woman entrepreneur today?
Today’s successful entrepreneur is one who can juggle her role as a wife, sister, friend, mother, or woman while remaining a business woman. A woman who decides to become her own boss has to go through a lot of hardships to get there. The “easiest” path would be to work in a company with precise schedules and the security of a check at the end of the month, but in my opinion, the most fulfilling path (and with no way back!) is the one in which, by dint of determination, one decides on one’s work and goals.
The term “rebranding” is often used in the Mauritian vocabulary, but it does not only apply to products: the entrepreneur has to constantly challenge herself to overcome the obstacles that lie ahead, thanks to her determination.
What advice would you give to a woman who wants to become an entrepreneur?
We never stop learning. This saying applies to all stages of life and all careers. As a woman, you have to know that you can have access to all markets. What you need to know are the tools available to best achieve this.
My advice to any woman starting a business is to plan ahead and not give up at the first obstacle. There will ALWAYS be obstacles. If you are a woman and you want to have a profitable business, don’t think about your comfort first, go ahead and get the right people with you.