International Youth Day 2021: Why Most Mauritian Youths Are Plumping On Online Businesses

Today is observed as International Youth Day. Elaborating on the significance of the youth in determining the future of society, this article explores the entrepreneurial pursuits of young Mauritians. 

Every year, the International Youth Day is based on a theme. This year’s theme is “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”. I picked a specific aspect of them: how the youths work to sustain human and planetary health innovation. The UN’s website states, “Through youth education, engagement, innovation, and entrepreneurial solutions, this year’s International Youth Day aims to provide a platform for young people to continue the momentum from the ECOSOC Youth Forum in the lead up to the high-level Food Systems Summit.” Since the pandemic has hit the world, food systems and all economic and social aspects have faced slack.

Moreover, the youths no more have a clear view and direction towards a sustainable socio-economic future. This appears to be the significant factor that has motivated young people to take up entrepreneurship on digital platforms. This way, the lack of resources and the massive scope for growth seems foreseeable in tough times.

It is never too late to chase your dream. As the world is going digital, it has opened up millions of opportunities. These opportunities can be bucketed into the three underlying benefits of online businesses – cost-effectiveness, wider reach and flexibility. And undoubtedly, the internet has made it easier for many young entrepreneurs to realise their dream of building a kickstarting business. And many Mauritian youths have decided to plump on the opportunities being yielded by online businesses.

On the other hand, online businesses are changing how businesses were being operated traditionally. Businesses around the world have chosen to adopt the digital way to become more efficient and profitable. However, a more profound benefit of a digital business is turning the services and the data into actionable insights to improve almost every aspect of the organisation. The business analytics that can be derived by doing business online helps to quickly repurpose the processes and make the operations smarter on the go.

The digital transformation in Mauritius

Digital transformation refers to integrating technology in all aspects of a business. The digital economy has positioned itself as the third pillar of the Mauritian economy. The Digital Mauritius 2030 Strategic Plan has developed an ambitious blueprint to promote digital administration, technology-enabled infrastructure, innovation, human resource management, and cybersecurity. The country is taking a firm step into the fourth industrial revolution, and the youths are being skilled to leverage their fullest potential.  Speaking of the power of social media, the total number of internet users in Mauritius has increased by 9.4% between 2020 and 2021. Over 73% of the total population uses social media, as per Datareportal. According to the statistics shared by Statcounter, 54.95% of Mauritians used Facebook, and 27.39% used Twitter as of July 2021. The number of social media users increased by 8.1% between 2020 and 2021. These figures show the reach and accessibility availed for online businesses to target their prospective customers.

The advantages of going online

  1. Low-cost: The primary advantage of opening an online business is that you need relatively much less capital. The expense of setting up a brick and mortar business may not be feasible for most aspiring entrepreneurs. Traditionally, you would need a proper office infrastructure, stationery, furniture and staff too. Nevertheless, all you need is just a computer and a Wi-Fi connection to get started, thanks to online businesses. The initial expenses may also include buying a web domain and developing a website for less than MUR 500.
  1. Wider reach: In the case of a shop or showroom, your space is limited to your vicinity and is measured by the number of footfalls coming to your place. However, in online business, you can determine for far and wide you want your reach to be. Moreover, you can also target specific audiences based on their likes, preferences and demographics through digital and social media marketing.
  1. Profit potential: Online businesses give you virtually unlimited potential to grow. Your business was operational twenty-four hours throughout the year. You may not have to be physically present but would need to show up or respond only need-basis. This way, you work less hard while serving more customers efficiently. If you plan your business well and find a growing market, the sky is the limit.

Thus, looking at the tremendous potential of online businesses and the dicey plight of the traditionally-run companies, it seems reassuring for the Mauritian youths to build their businesses online.

Krishna Athal, YUVA Executive Director

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