The Women in Africa (WIA) Initiative, the world’s leading international platform for the economic development and the support of African women entrepreneurs, has announced that 15 finalists have been selected from Mauritius to participate in the WIA 54 programme.
The 15 finalists from Mauritius (in alphabetical order) are:
Sita Jeeneea-Saminaden, Sanjana Jhumun, Nirusha Keerpaul-Toocaram, Sonya Mohadeb, Hethal Mohun, Madvee Muthu, Zaahirah Muthy, Lutchmee Nobaub, Diane Nuteau, Mokshda Pertaub, Tanvi Ramtohul, Davina Sawoky-Gowardun, Tej Soodaye, Poulavi Sornum and Sharanaz Subratty.
The bootcamps for the finalists, which are being conducted virtually, began on 28 September with a masterclass on pitching, which will be followed by training and networking sessions in the coming weeks. WIA will also announce one Country Laureate per country and nine Sector Prizes as Revelations, embodying the best of the continent, by the end of October.
All finalists will participate in a mentoring programme from January to June 2022, the goal of which is to support the women entrepreneurs in learning how to pitch and present their company and how to obtain access to finance.
Speaking about the programme, Samantha Seewoosurrun, WIA Ambassador for Mauritius, said: “I am thrilled that we have 15 talented and dedicated women entrepreneurs from Mauritius as finalists in the WIA 54 programme this year. Together, they cover a wide range of sectors, encompassing agriculture and agri-food, creative industries, digital and technology, education, health and climate and sustainable development, which shows just how much women entrepreneurs in Mauritius have to offer. I would like to warmly congratulate all of the finalists from Mauritius on their achievements to date and look forward to accompanying them on their WIA journey.”
AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD
Mauritius has one finalist in the agriculture and agri-food category: Madvee Muthu, Founder and Managing Director of T.I.A. Bee Products Ltd, who commented: “I’ve been building Bees with Stories since 2018. It’s nice to have the progress achieved so far be recognised. The recognition not only adds credibility to my work but make us more visible to other key players with whom we might collaborate in the future.”
There are three finalists from Mauritius in the creative industries category, which covers fashion, leisure and culture, among others.
Zaahirah Muthy, Founder of ZEEARTS Gallery, said: “Joining WIA 54 is a transformational journey where the programme will not only add value to female entrepreneurs in Mauritius but will enhance our skills and business savvy. It is definitely a great platform to connect with other African leaders”.
Poulavi Sornum, Managing Director at Queens Fashion Co Ltd, commented: “As a forward- looking woman entrepreneur, self-motivated and determined in my approach to fulfilling my aspirations and life goals, I always welcome any opportunity – however challenging – to better my practices, whether intrinsically professional or personal. Being a WIA finalist therefore means benefitting from the expertise, experience and know-how of WIA specialists and consultants as to efficiency in managing a project from start to end; sharing knowledge/information about the Mauritian context with counterparts of the African region mainly regarding evolution of the business sector/environment and vice versa, and Improving my own skills and competencies for growing into a leading woman entrepreneur”.
Sharanaz Subratty, Managing Director at Casting World Ltd, said: “I appreciated that WIA had recognised that the handicraft sector is a creative, valuable and innovative market. Being a woman, who used to promote the “savoir-faire Mauricien”, it’s a privilege and honour to share that my achievements and perseverance bring this sector to another level. And I want to inspire other women to start their own business and to take into consideration that “Never start a business to make money. Start a business to make a difference.”
DIGITAL & TECHNOLOGY
There are three finalists from Mauritius in the digital and technology category.
Nirusha Keerpaul-Toocaram, Founder and Director of CAMEX DPO Consulting Ltd, commented: “It feels great to know that my business has the potential to make an impact! With so many fascinating professionals in Mauritius, it becomes easy to believe the work that you’re doing is going unnoticed. Being named a finalist is already a significant professional milestone for me and my company. I’m happy to have taken up the challenge and pursue my passion for data protection. For all those who have supported me, taught me, and cheered me on, this is a collective recognition because I couldn’t be where I’m today without you. I hope my journey inspires other women”.
Sanjana Jhumun, Co-Founder and Head of Digital at Oxyzenn Digital, commented: “I am excited to embark on this new journey and am sure that this will help Oxyzenn to thrive and widen its network. Moreover, it is a great honour and gratifying to be among the 15 Mauritian women entrepreneurs. It means a lot to me, representing Mauritius as a digital woman entrepreneur in Africa.”
Tej Soodaye, CEO at Zethical Ltd, said: “I am deeply honoured and privileged to be amidst the finalists of the Women in Africa initiative. Being nominated as a finalist by WIA, whose endeavour is to be “the world’s leading International platform for the economic development and support to African women entrepreneurs” is, first of all, a matter of pride, but more importantly it goes along with my belief that we, women, can choose to go where there is no path and leave a trail. WIA has given me the opportunity to go the extra mile and be the woman that each woman entrepreneur in Mauritius/Africa aspires to be”.
There are five finalists from Mauritius in the education category.
Sita Jeeneea-Saminaden, Director at Stephen Business School, commented: “I am thrilled to be one of the WIA finalists – It is indeed a privilege and honour to be part of the group of 540 outstanding ladies: outstanding not only for their achievements but also for their unique dreams. The African continent is getting ready for a sustainable change with 2030 as a beacon. Women from all over Africa will be called to participate in this fundamental social and financial change. WIA is a platform to connect likeminded women entrepreneurs irrespective of their sectors. I am looking forward to further sharpen my competencies while being able to share with others what I have acquired till now. The sisterhood feeling is omnipresent in WIA and it provides the right environment for personal development and professional progress. The adventure now begins!”
Sonya Mohadeb, Director at C&S Secretarial Services Ltd, said: “I am beyond thrilled and honoured to be among the 540 finalists of the Women in Africa programme for this year. In 2021, it is now time to recognise the contribution of working mothers, single mothers and women in general to the society, family and business community. Their actions, sacrifices and commitment are not going unnoticed. They not only set a benchmark for themselves but for other women to achieve further heights. As Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Diane Nuteau, Founder and Meta-Coach at The Creative Brainstorming, commented: “WIA is in itself an organisation which is more than the sum of its parts. It aims at supporting more than 10,000 women entrepreneurs and indirectly contributing to the creation of 100,000 jobs, by 2030. Can you imagine what it means for African women to connect virtually, physically and to empower each other so we can leverage on the African potential? A McKinsey Global Institute report finds that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. Being part of WIA54 for me is an empowering journey. It is not just a competition throughout Africa bringing forth women entrepreneurs, for me is a huge opportunity to close gender gaps in work and society. It is the opportunity for us, Mauritian women, to showcase that we have what it takes to promote our competencies, and to reach out across borders so our ideas become bigger than ourselves. And who knows, they could help/assist a lady somewhere in Togo, in Rwanda, in Ghana to develop her business better, and hence employing more women.”
Mokshda Pertaub, Director at Lex Aquila Training and Consulting Services Ltd, said: “I feel deeply honoured and privileged to be among the finalists of WIA. I consider myself as a legal entrepreneur, with no training of business or management, being from a legal background and a barrister of 23 years standing. Setting up my company, Lex Aquila Training and Consulting Services Ltd in January 2020, was my first venture into legal entrepreneurship, with big big dreams which were curtailed by the first Covid lockdown. I have had to adapt very fast to the new normal, changing around to become a flexible and online training company to align with the times, and thankfully, we were able to sail through despite hard times. Lex Aquila has had to be innovative and agile in aligning itself with the new reality in education and work and, in a way, Covid gave us a push in a new direction and presented us with new opportunities. New doors opened also thanks to Covid, especially international. WIA is part of that dream to grow big and to look outwards on mainland Africa. I believe WIA will be the wind beneath my wings.”
Tanvi Ramtohul, Personal Online Tutor, commented: “As a WIA finalist, I feel even more encouraged and driven to contribute to higher quality education and teaching strategies in Mauritius. I always had a passion for teaching and started my journey as a voluntary tutor when I was still a student. Following the first lockdown in Mauritius, I decided to extend my reach to the students across the island and subsequently initiated my journey as a Personal Online Tutor. Along with helping students in their studies, I equally take care of their mental health. I am eager to start my WIA journey and explore further on how to improve my teaching style and give back to the community.”
There are two finalists from Mauritius in the health category.
Hethal Mohun, Co-Founder, CEO and Wellness Coach at Tamarind Leaf Yoga for Wellness, said: “I am honoured to have been selected as a finalist by Women in Africa. It is the culmination of a long journey composed of hard work, tenacity, and the burning desire to uplift lives. In my family, I was the first woman to have accessed tertiary education following outstanding academic performance, and the first woman entrepreneur to have successfully co-founded a wellness-tech start-up with my husband and CTO, Ajit Mohun. With limited resources, severely impacted by the pandemic, I am scaling social impact by empowering kids and adults with life skills, rooted in Yoga and Ayurveda, to achieve healing, health, and happiness. As WIA spotlights the unconventional entrepreneurial journeys of African women, I hope that more girls will be inspired to become dreamers, and doers in the world.”
Lutchmee Nobaub, Owner of Clinear Research Ltd, commented: “Being a WIA finalist is a welcome recognition for the work already done in the Indian Ocean by Clinear Research, Mauritian Contract Research Organisation (CRO). WIA is a great springboard, shining an international spotlight on talented African women entrepreneurs, but also on the many innovations they can bring to this continent. Representing more than 17% of the world’s population, the African continent can offer optimal conditions for conducting clinical trials through its genetic diversity. By forging further partnerships with Africa, we can bring our expertise, ethical commitment and knowledge of the field.”
CLIMATE & SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
There is one finalist from Mauritius in the climate and sustainable development category.
Davina Sawoky-Gowardun, Co-Founder of Les Consultants Plus D’Afrique Ltee, said: “African women are strong, beautiful and nurturing. They are capable of accomplishing great things in a multitude of sectors. It’s an absolute pleasure to be amongst the finalists of WIA54. As a finalist, my dream is to empower more women to make Africa a better and Safer place while ensuring sustainability for our younger generations. Africa is a fertile canvas with unimaginable opportunities awaiting to be woven; It is a land of investments and great potentials. African women play and shall continue to play a pivotal role in Africa’s safe future. They should be urged to embrace more complex positions in non-traditional industries. Industries that were once thought to be only for men. Empowering and encouraging more women to embrace these pathways is actually empowering whole nations, which is synonymous to a better and brighter future for Africa…”