Seychelles Entrepreneurship Policy Framework | 17 February 2020
Entrepreneurship ecosystem – it’s not about the government doing it all
In early 2019, the Department of Industry and Entrepreneurship Development requested for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to assist in installing their Entrepreneurship Policy Framework in Seychelles realising that when designing the entrepreneurship policy “one size does not fit all”. The call was promptly and positively responded to and kicked off with a survey coordinated by the department with key public sector, private sector, academia and non-governmental organisation’s representatives.
UNCTAD’s Entrepreneurship Policy Framework aims to support policymakers in the design of initiatives, measures and institutions to promote entrepreneurship. It sets out a structured framework of relevant policy areas, embedded in an overall entrepreneurship strategy that helps guide policymakers through the process of creating an environment that facilitates the emergence of entrepreneurs and start-ups, as well as the growth and expansion of new enterprises.
In an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem, multiple stakeholders contribute to facilitating entrepreneurship. It is a system that is mutually beneficial and self-sustaining as it allows relationships involving institutions, people and processes that work together with the goal of creating entrepreneurial and innovative ventures. It includes business (large and small firms as well as entrepreneurs), policymakers (at the international, national, regional and local levels), educational institutions (primary, secondary and higher education), social networks and other civil society actors.
UNCTAD’s framework recognises that although the national economic and social context and the specific development challenges faced by a country will largely determine the overall approach to entrepreneurship development, UNCTAD has identified six priority areas for policy focus that have a direct impact on entrepreneurial activity.
(1) Formulating national entrepreneurship strategy;
(2) Optimising the regulatory environment;
(3) Enhancing entrepreneurship education and skills;
(4) Facilitating technology exchange and innovation;
(5) Improving access to finance; and
(6) Promoting awareness and networking
Partnering with the Department of Investment in the Investment Policy Review
The framework pays attention to how entrepreneurship policy interacts with broader private sector development and general economic policies, as well as policies that contribute to improve the business climate. Given that the Department of Investment had requested from UNCTAD an Investment Policy Review (IPR), it was felt that the two policies being addressed alongside each other will foster greater coherence and synergies in order to effectively review Seychelles’ business environment.
To provide for further in-depth consultation, members of government and private sector were invited to attend a consultative workshop titled ‘Preparation of the Investment Policy Review of Seychelles: Removing the obstacles to investment and fostering entrepreneurship development’. The workshop was held at Avani Barbarons Seychelles Resort on Thursday January 30, 2020 and it was hosted by the Department of Investment, the Department of Industry and Entrepreneurship Development, UNCTAD and the Seychelles Investment Board. The workshop kick-started with presentations of the desk study, stakeholder survey results and mission findings by UNCTAD Economic Officers Maha El Masri, Phillipe Rudaz and UNCTAD-chosen consultant, Guy Morel.
Following this, a panellist session was held to discuss ‘Entrepreneurship in Seychelles: strategic issues and challenges’. The panellist board was made up of private sector individuals namely; Malshini Senaratne from Ecosol Consulting; Shella Mohideen from The Guy Morel Institute; Peter Roselie, a business consultant; Claude Bonte, from Mirage Insurance Brokers; Arnold Victor and Dorian Marie, from Mavericks Corp.; and Marco Francis, from AAA International Service Ltd.
In addition, parallel breakout sessions were organised during the course of the day with the aim of discussing specific themes and strategic issues, to which participants were invited to contribute urgent and relevant solutions.
Prior to the consultative workshop, the UNCTAD economic officers met (one on one) with government, private sector, academia and non-profit organisation’s representatives to discuss challenges relating to entrepreneurship and investment in Seychelles.
The way forward
Based on the survey, meetings and workshop, UNCTAD is expected to bring forth selected policy options that will enable government and its partners to begin the strategy formulation process. It will propose checklists and numerous references in the form of case studies and best practices that provide further guidance on the strategic process and its implementation.
The survey can still be accessed on Department of industry and Entrepreneurship’s Facebook page. It is available until Sunday February 23, 2020 for interested contributors.
A report will be made available before the end of the first half of 2020.
Notes on Entrepreneurship
UNCTAD defines Entrepreneurship – the act of being an entrepreneur – as the capacity and willingness to undertake conception, organisation, and management of a productive new venture, accepting all attendant risks and seeking profit as a reward. Entrepreneurship is widely considered by many countries as one of the most important drivers of job creation and economic growth. It is also crucial for the development of a vibrant formal micro, small and medium-sized business sector, the bedrock of any healthy economy.
Path-breaking offerings by entrepreneurs, in the form of new goods and services, result in new employment. New and improved offerings, products or technologies from entrepreneurs enable new markets to be developed and new wealth created. Through their unique offerings of new goods and services, entrepreneurs break away from tradition and indirectly support freedom by reducing dependence on obsolete systems and technologies. Entrepreneurs also invest in community projects and provide financial support to local charities. This enables further societal development beyond their own ventures.
It should be noted that SDG 4 and 8 explicitly addresses entrepreneurship as a key factor which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all and promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, respectively. Entrepreneurship is also connected to several other goals and targets. Growth-oriented entrepreneurs can also contribute to structural transformation and building new industries, including the development of eco-friendly economic activities.
A partial view of delegates at the workhop (Photo: Thomas Meriton)