The SheTrades Hub, an online platform developed by the International Trade Centre (ITC) to support women-owned businesses to access markets and finance was officially launched at Le Meridien Hotel in Pointe aux Piments.
Several personalities were present at the event, including the spouse of the Prime Minister, Mrs Kobita Jugnauth; the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development of the Republic of Mauritius, Dr Renganaden Padayachy; the Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah; the British High Commissioner to Mauritius, Mrs Charlotte Pierre; the Executive Director of the ITC, Ms Pamela Coke-Hamilton; the Chairman of the Economic development Board (EDB), Mr Hemraj Ramnial; and the Chief Executive Officer of the EDB, Mr Ken Poonoosamy.
Two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed on the occasion. An MoU was signed between the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and the ITC to mark the engagement of FCDO to finance ITC’s upcoming projects. The signatories were High Commissioner Pierre and Ms Coke-Hamilton.
Another MoU was signed between the EDB and ITC, represented by Mr Poonoosamy and Ms. Coke-Hamilton respectively so as both parties can work together to implement the SheTrades Hub.
In her keynote address, Mrs Jugnauth, highlighted that the SheTrades initiative will support local entrepreneurs to be connected to the world thus broadening the horizons and circle of opportunities for the citizens. She urged women entrepreneurs to leverage the opportunities offered by the SheTrades platform and other trade agreements to which Mauritius is a party. “Each woman entrepreneur who can benefit from SheTrades platform is a woman who can open new markets and new opportunities, sell and spread her ideas and support her community and family,” she added.
Mrs Jugnauth further spoke of the importance of empowering women entrepreneurs and providing them with access to new markets, training, networking opportunities, and support for digital entrepreneurship. She highlighted the various initiatives that have been undertaken under the SheTrades Mauritius project, including the Training of Trainers programme, workshops to empower women entrepreneurs, and sector-specific entrepreneurial skills training for women.
As for Dr Padayachy, he dwelt on governmental initiatives to empower businesswomen to contribute to the prosperity of the economy. “Today, we are proud to note the increasing involvement of our women entrepreneurs in high growth potential sectors” said the Finance Minister while adding “we have made significant progress in promoting women entrepreneurship and employment in recent years by implementing policies and programmes to promote gender equality in the workplace”.
The British High Commissioner, for her part, pointed out that Mauritian women lead innovative businesses, can inspire their communities, and shape their country’s economic future. “As new global challenges arise, promoting and supporting female entrepreneurship must remain a priority for all of us”, she said.
The launch of the SheTrades Hub in Mauritius, she stated, marks a new chapter in the UK-Mauritius partnership and will help provide Mauritian women the right skills and networks to unlock their full potential. “As Mauritius expands its trade exports, the UK Government, in partnership with the EDB and the International Trade Centre, remains committed to championing trade policies and programmes that advance women’s economic empowerment”, stated Ms Pierre.
The SheTrades Mauritius project is funded by the UK Government and has already seen 75 local women entrepreneurs register on the SheTrades platform and connect to national, regional, and global markets by showcasing their products and services.
The SheTrades initiative will further help to create a more inclusive and prosperous economy by providing women entrepreneurs with access to finance, training, networking opportunities, and support for digital entrepreneurship.