Seychelles sees upsurge in small business expansion

Business |Author: Daniel Laurence, Jamila Figaro and Betymie Bonnelame | May 1, 2017, Monday @ 10:41| 4961 views

Gretel Legras has been in business for the past two years and she avers that her clients use her services because she has the skills, knowledge and expertise that their staff lacks. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)

(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles is seeing an upsurge in the number of small businesses in the island nation, the result of a push by the government to encourage residents to become more entrepreneurial.

Official statistics show that there were 2,207 registered businesses in Seychelles in 2016, up from 1,755 in 2015.

In his budget address for this year, Minister of Finance Peter Larose said the theme for this year’s budget is ‘inclusive development with opportunities for all.’

“We must take a diverse approach to open our economy to encourage more people to open new businesses,” Larose said.

The minister added that: “Consideration is being given for the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS) to offer start-up capital or seed money of SR25, 000 - to be backed by Government guarantees.”

SNA spoke to some business owners about their journey to gain financial independence.

Molly Benjamin owner of Bedos and Zonm Zil boutiques at Unity House in Victoria. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Daryl Francoise, owner of a car hire, believes that while being your own boss brings great satisfaction, there are significant challenges that go along with it as you always have to be on top of things.

“Being your own boss and operating a successful business requires a level of great responsibility and commitment. Almost every decision has to be accurate,” Francoise said.

He added that, “When you want to achieve and grow your business you can become overly immersed in your job. This may also create a separation between you and your social life.”

Francoise feels that the number of self-employed people in Seychelles is increasing and is helping to mold a society with a sense of ownership. He said that starting your own means that you will in time learn invaluable lessons about self-management.

“This experience will follow you everywhere you go, even if you want to later work in another organization or take the entrepreneurial route of founding additional business venture. Hence, a person who owns a business tends to be more punctual and reliable.”

Although you have the flexibility to set your own time to start and finish work, Francoise advised other business owners to be cautious and realistic as time is money.

The top entrepreneur of the year for 2016, Luther Denis, said that some people prefer to be self-employed because they get the freedom to choose and plan their own retirement programme.

Luther Denis (Middle) head of EZ Fix won the award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 organised by the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) (Louis Toussaint, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

“Self-employment retirement plans encourage you to save more towards your retirement because you can make higher annual contributions towards your personal account than you could with a retirement account provided by an employer,” Denis said.

He added that “operating a business independently is a challenge on its own which can also bring much excitement compare with being employed in a fixed repetitive job earning a fixed salary.”

Being your own boss is spontaneous, but as Denis said, his main ordeal is finance and excess workload.

SNA also spoke to Gretel Legras, who works as a consultant for a wide range of services from human resources to employment and immigration issues.

Gretel has been in business for the past two years and she avers that her clients use her services because she has the skills, knowledge and expertise that their staff lacks.  

“For this reason, it is very important for me to stay abreast of advances and developments in my chosen field so that accurate information can be passed on to clients,” said Legras.

“Working for yourself is an adventure,” she added and, “At the end of the day, I am responsible for my own success as it lies on my own shoulders.  My satisfaction comes from helping others in meeting their goals and achieving success.”

Legras says life as a business owner is not all rosy and her biggest problems stem from bureaucracy where ministries often take two or three weeks to make appropriate responses.

“Whilst the Department of Immigration should be giving out GOP within five working days, this is not the case nowawdays. They take a long time, saying there are back logs,” she said.

These bureaucratic issues often cause her to go back on her agreements with clients on deadlines.

Nevertheless, Legras has positive words of encouragement for those thinking about making the move.

“You have to take a stand for yourself as change can only occur when you make a conscious decision to make it happen.”

Tags: Minister of Finance Peter Larose, registered businesses, Development Bank of Seychelles, Department of Immigration


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