A sensitisation programme on Cooperative Entrepreneurship in Secondary Schools, aiming to promote inclusive development through cooperative entrepreneurship among the youth, was launched, this morning, at the Camp de Masque State College by the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah. The Director of the National Co-operative College (NCC), Mr Geeanduth Seechurn, was present on the occasion.
The programme, an initiative of the NCC, will be carried out in some thirty Secondary Schools across the island and is targeting, in particular, Form Four and Lower Six students. It is expected to give students an insight on the basics of cooperative entrepreneurship as well as its advantages and job prospects.
In his address, Minister Bholah underlined that cooperatives act as vital agents that contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of a country. It helps in integrating the poor and the unemployed in the mainstream of the economy, improve the standard of living of people, provide access to markets that individually people cannot access on their own and also combats social exclusion, he added.
Furthermore, the Minister highlighted several incentives and schemes that the Government, is putting in place to facilitate the creation of a cooperative society. With regard to the fact that very often the youth aspire for white-collar jobs after their studies, Mr Bholah called for a change in mindset and encouraged the youth to develop a culture of cooperatives and to actively participate in the field of cooperatives and entrepreneurship.
For his part, the Director of the NCC spoke on the role of the NCC as a facilitator which provides appropriate training to potential entrepreneurs and assists entrepreneurs to regroup and form cooperative societies. He also dwelt on the traits of successful entrepreneurs, the principles and potentials of cooperative and the values of an entrepreneur.
The Mauritian Cooperative Movement incorporates 90 000 members in over 1 100 cooperative societies operating in economic sectors like agriculture, fishing, retail trade, financial services, and ready-made garments, amongst others. The sector generates an annual turnover exceeding Rs 5.5 billion and accounts for 15% of small sugar cane planters, 10% of national sugar production, 75% of onion production, 40% of potatoes production and 70% of fresh green vegetable.