We met Ruben Mooneesawmy when he was Guest Speaker at an entrepreneur’s brunch organized by DodoWorkPlay. Ruben is CEO and founder of Axcel Insights, a company that specializes in various fields, including financial consulting for SMEs.
Who is Ruben Mooneesawmy?
I am a certified public accountant with thirteen years of experience in the field of finance. I trained as an auditor for eight years in Mauritius and England before switching to Corporate Finance in 2012 with the accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young. My experience in Corporate Finance covers business valuation, financial due diligence, IPO’s, mergers and acquisitions. In 2014, I joined the Restructuring department, where I led corporate restructurings and court administrations.
Tell us about your company, Axcel Insights.
In October 2016, I went out on my own and created Axcel Insights, to offer three types of services:
- Assistance on liquidations or administrations of companies in Mauritius under the Insolvency Act 2009, and also on financial and operational restructuring of SMEs;
- Support in financing (equity or debt) of renewable energy projects;
- Support for share acquisitions or disposals – classic M&A.
Are your services aimed at a specific clientele?
Our clients vary depending on the services we offer. For example, on the restructuring of companies, our services are aimed more specifically at the heads of SMEs who are facing financial difficulties, either because of poor management of the company’s cash flow, lack of innovation compared to their competitor or a gradual disinterest of consumers in favour of other products that are at a better price.
In relation to renewable energy projects, we work with local and international banks to propose transactions and to accompany them until the signature of the loan agreement.
On the M&A side, our services are aimed at pension or private equity funds and local companies looking for acquisition opportunities or the disposal of their holdings in African companies and vice versa.
Of all the services offered by Axcel Insights, which is the most popular?
At the moment, we are seeing a growing interest in financing renewable energy projects in Africa through equity or bank debt. As a reminder, following the signing of the COP21 convention in Paris, African states have committed themselves to investing in renewable energy projects in order to better control the devastating effects of global warming.
Do you think that the economic situation in the country is conducive to the creation of new businesses?
Yes, it is. We have all the necessary ingredients to create a profitable business and make it grow, whether it be political stability, economic stability, our laws that protect businesses and investors, access to financing, etc. Of course, there is room for improvement in all the areas mentioned, but the basic ingredients are there.
Several innovative initiatives have been made available to SMEs by the Mauritian government and the private sector. For example, entrepreneurs now have access to loans at preferential rates through Maubank. Coworking spaces and consulting support also help mentor young entrepreneurs in their business, and companies aiming to export to Europe now have access to subsidies on air travel costs. Of course, we can always do more and better. I look forward to the measures that will be announced in the upcoming budget to boost small business.
Do you have any new plans for the future?
I am a realistic optimist. I am aware of the challenges in my business, but with determination and hard work, I may one day achieve my wildest dream – to make Axcel the local reference in the services we offer.
We have quite a few projects in the pipeline, but it will take more funding to get them done. So we’ll have to be patient and work with what we have for a while.
What would be your final word?
According to recent statistics, SMEs contribute 40% of our gross national product. Mauritian entrepreneurs therefore have a crucial role to play in our country and Mauritian companies need to innovate their business model in order to survive in the increasingly competitive business world of globalization. Consultants such as Axcel Insights are there to guide them in this process!