A preliminary overview of entrepreneurship understanding in Seychelles |18 March 2020
As defined by UN an entrepreneur is ‘an individual who identifies opportunities in the marketplace, allocates resources, and creates value. Entrepreneurship – the act of being an entrepreneur – implies 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 very vital to a country’s economy; it generates revenue, drives employment and innovation. Entrepreneurship dynamics can be tied to conditions that promote or hinder new business creation; this is also known as the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Therefore, an Entrepreneurship Policy Framework is a key element to an entrepreneurship ecosystem as it is made up of prerequisites, conditions, resources, markets and incentives, regulations and supporting institutions to help and spearhead the establishment and growth of new businesses.
In late 2019, the department of Industry and Entrepreneurship Development (DOIED) solicited the support of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to assist in developing the Seychelles Entrepreneurship Policy Framework. Simultaneously, the department initiated a survey to assess the state of entrepreneurship understandingin Seychelles. DOIED launched the survey digitally at the ‘My First Job Scheme’ recruitment fair that was held on February 26, 2020 organised by the department of Employment.
The entrepreneurship survey is used to collect the views on a range of factors from entrepreneurial knowledge to its challenges. The key elements of this undertaking is to develop a baseline/framework that provides the means to tackle the various outcomes while at the same time remaining focused on the measurement of entrepreneurship. An encouraging feedback from 26 participants provided an indication of the setting of the entrepreneurial landscape in Seychelles.
DOIED’s population sample started as young as 15 years old and consisted of 53.8% of the age group ranging from 18 – 25 years with 69.2% of the sample being women. 92.7% of the participants indicated that they have heard of the word ‘entrepreneur’ yet the notion of what it fully comprises is limited to only 42.3% of the total participants hence, highlighting a key knowledge gap regarding entrepreneurship. In light of this, it gives a preliminary indication that the awareness and education campaign might not be reaching the key target group. This will guide DOIED to redirect its efforts in terms of educational campaign strategies to be more targeted.
Equally, 53.8% of the participants agreed that to start an amazing entrepreneurial journey, an academic background is not a precondition although it is useful in providing key skills and knowledge. It was noted however that the key element in the journey is to be committed to the interest and passion to bring a dream to life. This is further underlined by the statistics showcasing that 42.3% of the participants is of the view that the best characteristics that describes an entrepreneur entails a risk taker and an innovator among others. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos as well as a local entrepreneur, Joe Albert, were quoted as key figures that epitomize a true entrepreneur and possess the relevant characteristics. However on the other end, a vast majority of the sample claimed that to have knowledge on what is an entrepreneur, could not identify one key leading entrepreneur hence aligning the misconception between a businessperson and an entrepreneur.
Interestingly, DOIED’s sample comprised only 7.7% existing business owners with 69.2% motivated to start their own business. Access to finance was quoted as the most prominent impeding factor in starting a business followed by other factors such as operating space, regulatory framework, etc... This therefore illustrates an urgent need to review the financing mechanisms for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to offer alternative solutions for funding in order to foster more startups.
The overview from the data showcases that overall there is a keen interest for people to engage in starting up their own business and tourism remaining at the forefront as area for investment. It gives a signal that more efforts are to be geared towards identifying business opportunities for diversification and encouraging innovation and notion of thinking outside the box.
On that note, the DOIED is appealing to all members of the public to kindly participate in the survey, which is available online in both Creole and English versions at https://forms.gle/hPjd7N82aRggcvkC6or on its Facebook page DOIEDSeychelles for them to obtain a better view of the understanding of entrepreneurship in Seychelles. Having a larger sample will assist the department in drafting national policies to create an enabling environment and framework to cultivate entrepreneurs and innovative businesses and simultaneously, address the needs of the population and business community more effectively.
The accompanying pie charts show samples of the survey questions and responses.