Harnessing digital trade to curb COVID-19 impacts on MSMEs: A gender and sector discourse

- 8 July 2021

Trade topics: Digital Trade, COVID-19, MSMEs, Gender and Trade

The project aims at analysing the effects of COVID-19 on Mauritian MSMEs including women and blue entrepreneurs. It will also investigate the factors that prevent Mauritian women micro entrepreneurs from shifting to digital trade and aim to empower MSMEs with the capacity to adopt electronic commerce practices and expand their market base and visibility in the online trading environment.
 
A survey of 400 MSMEs in different business sectors will be carried out together with a series of semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders in ministries, the private sector, business organisations, support institutions, and civil societies. It will focus on the different economic sectors of the country, with a particular emphasis on the tourism industry and with the aim of building a database. This survey will build on previous work done by the Chair with the Mauritian Ministry of Business, Enterprises and Cooperatives for the 10 - Year Master Plan for the SME Sector in Mauritius. The case studies developed will be integrated into several modules in both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
 
A course for trainers and the development of a training kit is also planned. These activities are meant to address hurdles that women entrepreneurs are facing due to the pandemic and will equip MSMEs with the necessary material to train their personnel to shift to digital trade. In addition, a short course on electronic commerce for MSMEs will be conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of ICT, the National Computer Board and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It will involve participants from MSMEs who are selected by MSME Mauritius and the National Women Entrepreneur Council (NWEC).
 
A workshop-cum-roundtable with stakeholders of public and private sector to discuss the impacts of the pandemic on MSMEs is planned. The Mauritian Ministry of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives the National Women Entrepreneur Council (NWEC) will be involved in the project and its activities.