‘Entrepreneurs must be well informed to prosper’
President James Michel learned of these issues during a visit to small family businesses in Baie Lazare and Takamaka districts yesterday morning. Yesterday’s visit forms part of a new series of visits to various communities and businesses this year.
The president was also told that local manpower is not always readily available and some Seychellois hired to work on farms and in small businesses are either on drugs and consume a lot of alcohol thus missing work or just steal equipment.
Therefore, most of the people running these small businesses work alone or hire foreigners.
President Michel himself was not happy to see strong Seychellois men drinking local brew not far from the Baie Lazare police station at noon.
“It is true there is this shortcoming and all businesses I have visited today have told me about lack of Seychellois workers, but we have to persevere through education, giving youths and school children the opportunity to study in the field they like and also give them good advice that they should not go into substance abuse, but rather concentrate on their studies to become good citizens who will work and contribute to the benefit of their country,”
President Michel told the local media at the end of the visits.
He added that “it’s unfortunate that social ills are affecting our manpower and this is evident as we are a very small country with a small population. It’s an ongoing battle and we have to ensure we do the best we can to resolve the problem”.
President Michel also pointed out that officials of the newly created Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation should visit small businesses more often to learn of their problems as most of them seem to lack information on the services available to them to develop their businesses.
“People do not know enough about the facilities the government has put in place that can help them in their business. We need to help them and give them more information on the media, and the ministry must be more proactive in going around the country and talking to the small business people and giving them information on how to go about developing their business and to grow their business as well. I think there should be more consultation, more interaction so that they can receive the necessary advice,” said Mr Michel.
On the other hand, the president expressed his satisfaction at the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the people in the two districts he visited yesterday.
“There is a lot of interest and some people are taking it on themselves to start a business. I believe we have to promote these businesses more and also make people aware of all the opportunities that exist. There’s a lot of potential. Today I have visited most of the businesses that are on land but as we turn towards the Blue Economy which is the new frontier for development, there are also opportunities that are waiting for us to tap in the ocean. In the years ahead I will continue to do all I can to empower the Seychellois to take ownership of the economy in every possible way,” stressed Mr Michel who also sympathised with Gerard Larue and his family on the recent passing of their father and grandfather Fernand Vidot.
Mr Larue and his late grandfather used to work on their farm at upper Anse Gaulette.
President Michel also visited Marie-Noella Sanguignon’s farm at Quatre Bornes. In Takamaka, he also visited two families – François Mondon and Regis Mondon – who are producing various kinds of chips, including banana, breadfruit, cassava and sweet potato types, the mechanical workshop of Keven Desaubin, and the carpentry workshops of Randy Bonne and Ray Balette.
Moving to Baie Lazare, he stopped at Ian’s Bakery belonging to Ian Belle at Val Mer, talked to fruit and vegetable seller Bernadette Antat at Quatre Bornes, and ended his visit at craft maker Rosemonde Freminot’s home in Anse à la Mouche.
The president was accompanied by Marise Berlouis, principal secretary in the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation, member of the National Assembly for Takamaka Alderic Bristol, Takamaka district administrator Paul Ernesta, Baie Lazare district administrator Joyce Lepathy and senior officials in the Office of the President.
Speaking to the business operators he met yesterday, President Michel also encouraged them to look for financial help with the Seychelles Business Finance Agency (SBFA) which is there to encourage the growth of small enterprises to enable them to contribute towards the realisation of a stable and vigorous economy.
The SBFA provides financial help through concessionary loans to small business enterprises while the Small Enterprise Promotion Agency (Senpa) promotes small businesses.
Its objective is to finance small businesses that are carried out at home and to finance projects for start-ups and expansionary. But a business has to register with Senpa as a cottage industry or small enterprise before going to SBFA for a loan.