Transitioning towards a Digital Industry- ICT/BPO
The ICT/BPO industry represents a key driver of the Mauritian economy with a GDP contribution of 5.8% for 2019 and employing around 27,000 people. With some 850 ICT-BPO based enterprises, the country has one of the richest technology ecosystems in Africa that thrives on innovation and collaboration across sectors. The industry is vibrant spanning from technology start-ups to multinationals across various segments such as digital services, technical support, applications development and customer management among others.
Besides offering a distinctive proposition in bilingual skills (French, English) for UK/European companies, Mauritius has demonstrated its capabilities in offering a compelling alternative for serving non-voice and IT needs of multinationals.
Global players such as Accenture, Ceridian, Convergys, Huawei, Orange Business Services, and Allianz amongst others have successfully established their operations in Mauritius due to their ability to serve global clients with high-quality, innovative solutions.
No of companies: 850 (2019)
Employment: 27,000 (2019)
GDP: 5.8% (2019)
Internet penetration: 118% (2019)
Mobile penetration: 148% (2019)
Business opportunities presently exist in the following segments:
- BPO Non-Voice - Back Office, Payroll, Finance & accounting outsourcing, Legal Process Outsourcing
- Information Technology Outsourcing - software development, Mobile apps development, Web development, E-commerce, Multimedia
- IT Services - Data Centers, Disaster Recovery, Training, Consultancy
- Digital Content: E Payment, digital content production, applications e – learning & online training system, animation, Mobile games,
- Incubator programs with both private and government backing
Developments in the digital space currently offers the country the possibility of embracing new opportunities to grow the economy in fields such as:
- Cloud Services
- Digital health technologies
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Virtual and augmented reality
Mauritius has crafted an enabling ecosystem for ICT-BPO companies to develop and flourish. The country offers the following key attributes for ICT and BPO activities:
- Proven test bed and launch pad for new technologies
- Pool of multilingual, educated and adaptable IT professionals
- Excellent collaborative business environment
- Competitive cost to quality proposition
- Reliable and redundant international connectivity with two international submarine networks and forthcoming connections to 2 additional submarine cables
- Innovative training incentives and programs offered by Government
The philosophy of Government is geared towards implementing a Digital Mauritius strategy and the ultimate objective is to be able to harness the power of technology to facilitate the transition of Mauritius towards a digital island. The following list of measures enunciated by Government since 2016 bears testimony to the progress that Mauritius is making in generating economic growth based on innovation:
- Amendment of Data Protection Act 2004 to be fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Innovator’s Occupation Permit ––No minimum turnover and capital investment
- Promulgation of Regulatory sandbox license to cater for innovative projects for which there exists no legal framework
- Implementation of a national incubator scheme to cater for infrastructural support, training and mentoring of projects
- Formulation of a plug and play cloud service to incentivize digital nomads and local start-ups to benefit from readily available solutions to develop applications and other services.
- Introduction of 8-year income tax exemption for companies developing intellectual property assets in Mauritius
- Double deduction of qualifying expenditure incurred for R&D purposes
- Implementation of the e-Commerce scheme to promote and cater for the domiciliation of electronic platforms and their ancillary activities in Mauritius
- Creation of the Data Technology Park in Cote d’or with the aim to promote a high-tech economy and stimulate innovation while assisting knowledge-based firms and knowledge-intensive activities
- Introduction of the Smart and Innovative Mauritius Development Scheme to support the development of new industries geared towards innovation and cutting-edge technology
New funding Opportunities for Start up
- Introduction of a Technology and Innovation fund to invest up to MUR 2 million as equity in projects recommended by MRIC
- SME equity fund to invest up to MUR 200 000 per project
- Loans facilities at a preferential rate of 0.5% per annum per enterprise up to a max of MUR 10 mm
Recently, the announcement of a Data Technology park at Cote D’Or shall further propel the country into the digital era as the park will leverage the latest technology, design principles, and business philosophies to create an entrepreneurial community aimed at expediting the innovation process from idea to creation.
In 2018, export of services for the ICT-BPO industry amounted for MUR 4.4 Billion. Several industry operators have been exporting their products and services towards Africa among which Ghana, Namibia, Botswana.
Government has set its new model of economic partnership for greater growth and opportunities with the rest of Africa. Such partnerships will create a comforting environment and subsequently enhance confidence to propel Mauritian private sector investments further in the SEZs identified in Senegal, Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Funding and Assistance:
- SME’s can apply for funding and assistance to various sources of Government finance & support namely through business or technology incubators, tax benefits, innovation loans and grants and support programs.
- The table below provides an overview of some of the flagship initiatives currently being managed by some of the key institutions of the industry including SME Mauritius, Mauritius Research Council and Development Bank of Mauritius, Maubank- Mauritius Bank and State Bank of Mauritius amongst others, to promote the growth, development and internationalization of SMEs.
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Mauritius Research and Innovation Council
Mauritius Research and Innovation Council: Proof of concept scheme
Funding of up to MUR1 million per project available for a project duration not exceeding 12 months to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) or Large Enterprises; Start-Ups and research institutions in collaboration with enterprises or companies to provide support for the validation of innovative technologies that have promising commercialization potential.
Mauritius Research and Innovation Council: Collaborative Research and Innovation Grant Scheme
A matching grant of up to Rs5M per project for a duration of normally up to 24 months to local companies, consortium ranging from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, to Large companies for innovative, collaborative research and development projects with commercial potential, in partnership with local Academic/Research/Tertiary Education Institution(s).
Website: http://www.mrc.org.mu/ Contact: email@example.com
Mauritius Research and Innovation Council: Pole of Innovation Grant Scheme
A matching grant of up to MUR 9M per pole for a project duration not exceeding 36 months, with an annual ceiling of MUR 3M. The Applicant and Collaborating Institution(s) will have to contribute jointly to the Pole In cash and/or in kind. A minimum financial (In Cash) contribution of 40% of the matching grant should be made by the applicant, either solely or in collaboration with the collaborating institution.