On Thursday, 9th March 2023, the UK-funded SheTrades Hub was officially launched at Le Meridien Hotel, Pointe aux Piments. The SheTrades Hub is an online platform developed by the International Trade Centre (ITC) to connect women entrepreneurs to buyers, investors, and other women-owned businesses. The platform is designed to help women-owned businesses to access markets, finance and knowledge.
The launch event was graced by the presence of Mrs Kobita Jugnauth, chief guest to the event, who has been instrumental in thriving the SheTrade initiative and bringing it to Mauritian Women entrepreneurs. Mrs Jugnauth is also a fervent champion of women empowerment. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development of the Republic of Mauritius, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, Her Excellency, Mrs. Charlotte Pierre, British High Commissioner to Mauritius, Ms Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of International Trade Centre, Mr Hemraj Ramnial, Chairman of the Economic development Board (EDB) and Mr Ken Poonoosamy, CEO of the EDB were also among the distinguished guests.
For Mrs. Kobita Jugnauth, the SheTrades initiative is all about helping the local entrepreneurs to be connected to the world, it is about 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. Kobita Jugnauth, emphasized the importance of empowering women entrepreneurs and providing them with access to new markets, training, networking opportunities, and support for digital entrepreneurship. SheTrades initiative will expand women entrepreneurs’ access to international markets, help them connect with buyers and partners, and create new opportunities for economic growth and development.
Mrs. Jugnauth highlighted the various initiatives that have been undertaken under the SheTrades Mauritius project, including the Training of Trainers program, workshops to empower women entrepreneurs, and sector-specific entrepreneurial skills training for women. The project aims to improve the business support ecosystem, enhance the capacity of women-led businesses to access markets, and develop sector-specific entrepreneurial skills for women in Mauritius.
Honourable Minister of Finance, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, highlighted the initiatives taken by Government 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. We have made significant progress in promoting women entrepreneurship and employment in recent years by implementing policies and programs to promote gender equality in the workplace,” said Honourable Minister of Finance, Dr Renganaden Padayachy.
For the British High Commissioner, H.E. Mrs. Charlotte Pierre, 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. This is not simply an issue of equality – it also makes good economic sense. The UK is proud to have supported Mauritius’ trade and gender equality efforts over the past few years, including through the She Trades Commonwealth Programme, a UK funded Commonwealth-wide initiative has paved the way for increased economic growth and job creation by helping hundreds of female-owned businesses access international trade opportunities”, said the British High Commissioner.
H.E. Mrs. Charlotte Pierre added: “By launching the SheTrades Hub in Mauritius today, we mark a new chapter in the UK-Mauritius partnership, a vital opportunity that 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 Economic Development Board and the International Trade Centre, remains committed to championing trade policies and programmes that advance women’s economic empowerment.”
“Following the launch of the new SheTrades Hub strategy in September 2022, our SheTrades Hub Focal Points received training on export-readiness, visual communication, inclusive supply chains, and strategies to foster private sector partnerships,” said Ms Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC). “The SheTrades Mauritius project aims to strengthen the business support ecosystem, facilitate market access for Mauritian women entrepreneurs, and build the sector-specific entrepreneurial skills of young women graduates in the country,” she added.
Ms Coke-Hamilton commended Mauritius for implementing the National Export Strategy and launching the upgraded Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism and National Strategy and Action Plan for Women Entrepreneurship Development.
During the launch of the SheTrades Hub platform, an MoU was signed between FCDO and ITC, represented by HE Charlotte Pierre and Ms Pamela Coke Hamilton. This MoU marks the engagement of the FCDO to finance ITC’s upcoming projects.
Another MoU was signed between EDB and ITC, represented by Mr Ken Poonoosamy and Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilto, in the presence of Mrs Kobita Jugnauth and HE Charlotte Pierre. It is an agreement which marks the firm intention of the two parties to work together to implement the SheTrades Hub.
As a reminder, 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 project has also hosted a range of workshops and training programs aimed at empowering women entrepreneurs in the apparel and non-apparel industry.
The launch of the SheTrades Hub in Mauritius represents a significant milestone in the country’s efforts to empower women entrepreneurs and promote economic growth and development. With the support of the International Trade Centre, the Economic Development Board, and other partners, women entrepreneurs in Mauritius now have a valuable platform to showcase their products and services, connect with potential buyers and partners, and gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the global marketplace.
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.