A workshop on Infusing innovation in the cooperative sector aiming at promoting innovative skills and know-how, and technological strategies for cooperative societies, was launched, yesterday, by the Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah, at the National Cooperative College, Bois Marchand Road, Terre Rouge.
The event, an initiative of the National Cooperative College, targeted some 100 participants from cooperative societies to enable them to learn, adopt and adapt to the new and innovative techniques so as to keep pace with the latest innovations and technological advances as well as the increasingly challenging working environment. The resource persons were representatives from the University of Mauritius, Mauritius Research and Innovation Council, and Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute.
In his opening speech, Minister Bholah said that Government wants to endorse innovation for the cooperative sector as the sector plays a very critical role in the socio-economic development of the country by way of creation of wealth, employment, poverty alleviation and provision of quality goods and services.
Innovation, he added, is closely associated with change which is a key to success to any organisation. Survival of cooperatives, Mr Bholah stated, depends on their ability to innovate and create value and continuous innovation is vital to the competitiveness and long-term sustainability of cooperatives.
The Minister also outlined major constraints faced by cooperatives to sustain competition and innovation namely a lack of funding, restricted market access, lack of skilled labour and manpower, and deficiency in technological resources. He reiterated that the exchange of knowledge, skills, creativity and expertise is essential to boost the cooperative sector in Mauritius.
Several schemes implemented by Government to the benefit of cooperative societies namely E-registration project, Green Energy Scheme, Bio-farming project, Ornamental Fish Farming project, amongst others, were also enumerated by Mr Bholah.
As regards women participation, he lauded women entrepreneurs for joining the cooperative sector and encouraged more women to engage themselves in cooperatives thereby contributing to women emancipation as well as to the economy. The Minister also appealed to the youth to join the cooperative sector so as to become independent, self-reliant and self-sufficient.