Youth SCEAL was co-founded in 2013 by a group of friends who wanted to encourage education and entrepreneurship in Mauritius. Their team has grown and they are now 25 to relay the positive initiatives of young Mauritians.
Hello, can you describe YouthSceal?
YouthSceal plays an important role in the Mauritian youth community:
Its objective is to put forward innovative ideas which are, without any doubt, essential to a perennial evolution of our society.
YouthSCEAL exists to empower young Mauritians and encourage them to participate in the development and improvement of their community. Founded in 2013, Youth S.C.E.A.L is a youth-led organization with the objective of being an information and service platform to promote education and entrepreneurship in communities to become self-sufficient. We also encourage young people to learn the job skills that will serve them in their future careers. The letters of S.C.E.A.L stand for Social Change through Education/ Entrepreneurship & Active Leadership.
Do you think that entrepreneurship is the key to change in Mauritius?
Yes, human capital is our main asset in Mauritius. Our country has a number of problems that can be countered by developing an entrepreneurial spirit. For example, given the extent to which Mauritius is dependent on imported food, projects such as VegMeMauritius helps to get the best out of our rich soils, which are often only occupied by sugarcane fields. Careehub is a platform that facilitates job search and makes it easier for many Mauritians to find work.
What are the skills that young people in Mauritius lack the most in order to become entrepreneurs?
The first thing that is missing is critical thinking.
It is important to be able to appreciate and take advantage of the resources that exist around us. When things go wrong, we should take responsibility for making them better. If Mauritians lack this critical thinking, it must have something to do with the way we are taught. We’re used to having premade information and not thinking about it. We study for academic achievement rather than for subject mastery.
Furthermore, there is a lack of initiative.
The pre-established path for young people is education followed by employment. Going down less explored paths (entrepreneurship) is a risky decision that requires more effort. It is a choice where you are the only one responsible for your failures.
Finally, I think that young Mauritians need to learn to create value and to go beyond what already exists.
Entrepreneurship requires that you not only be good at what you do, but that you be unique. The value you create must be superior or different from your competitors. More often than not, people focus on the benefits they are supposed to get from entrepreneurship, forgetting the crucial importance of patience and the time it takes to get there. Applying for a job is then the not-so-easy alternative that will result in a decent and sandy salary, but where the task you have is the same as your neighbour’s.
Is the Mauritian ecosystem conducive to entrepreneurship despite a very limited market?
Yes, because we import much more than we export.
We can create a local substitute to minimize imports and use the regional transport agreements that exist to export. Mauritius is certainly a small market, but if we focus on the Indian Ocean region, we are more than twenty million, and the population in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) is ten times larger (277 million). Moreover, the level of education in Mauritius is high and we could export this knowledge to facilitate the development of the emmeroean sectors in the SADC. One should not think in terms of borders: a Mauritian business can grow beyond them.
Can young people escape the digital transformation?
Technology is the tool that allows us to move forward.
Without any hesitation, I would say that technology can improve many things. As a first step, we must ensure that we have the right infrastructure: education and technology are the areas that will lead to change. Without it, youth are at a great disadvantage: they need it to launch their own initiatives.
If you had to highlight 3 promising initiatives in Mauritius?
What advice would you give to a young person wishing to undertake in Mauritius?
Spend time developing and improving your products. Discuss your ideas: if you keep them to yourself, they won’t grow. And, most importantly, get started. If you fail, get better. Be better every time. Create value. Change the world with your product or idea.