It is fairly easy to set up a business in Mauritius. The procedures are pretty straightforward and a lot of things can be done online. Below is a compilation of best practices that I recommend based on what I know and have experienced.
Create a business plan
If you are starting a new business, definitely create a business plan. A lot of existing businesses have been operating for years now in Mauritius without any business plan (especially the SMEs). Here’s my advice, it’s never too late, create one and it will improve your insights about your own business. A good plan will help you understand exactly where you are, in which direction you could go. It can help identify potential markets needs or wants. It will also make it easier to convince banks/investors for finance.
There are so many different versions of business plans online. Some are pages long and overly complex, making it daunting to even begin. I believe in concision and the business plan that I recommend for any business to start with is the business model canvas by Alexander Osterwalder or the Lean canvas model by Ash Maurya. Depending on your preferences and philosophies, choose one of the two. The Lean Canvas is intended solely for entrepreneurs (especially those in line with the lean startup philosophy) while the business model canvas, well let’s just say it’s for everyone. So in most cases, I recommend the business model canvas which is explained in the video below.
I believe the video is self-explanatory enough so I will move on while saying that you can do this layout on paper, Word, Excel, Powerpoint or any other way, there are no rules or specific software exclusivity here. Choose whichever makes you feel most comfortable. Once you have this, you will articulate and pitch your business better, you will be able to construct an elaborate business plan (if needed) more easily.
Yes! It is possible to check existing companies to verify for information in general or check if a particular name is already taken up or even do registration process online. The facilities in themselves are most welcome, though they seriously should hire someone for the UI and UX, of which I am totally not a fan.
So if you want to verify if a name is taken up or whether you wish to apply for it, just head to the MNS portal (https://portalmns.mu/). You should be able to choose between for availability of company name or details. The last option would be something saying “Business Registration, Incorporation, E-filing, and Fees”. There you are, just click, read through the instruction and follow the steps (of course this is not free and I haven’t used it so I cannot say a lot). What I can say however is that if you visit the official site Corporate and Business Registration Department and look to the right corner (try to ignore that horrible and cringy photo carousel), you will find some interesting stuff namely how to apply online, how to incorporate or register a company as well as guidelines to use the previously mentioned system. Everything from pricing to user manual seems to have been documented. The following two links I am sharing below are the manuals to:
- Incorporate a business and receive the Business Registration Number
- Change the name of an existing company
Look at the manuals, there are different ones whether to apply for partnership or as an individual. Lastly, it seems the system is picking up and people are beginning to use. As per their own released figures, more people have incorporated business through the online platform rather than by going to the office; on average only 15 min has been taken to incorporate a business.
So Ved has a business plan ready and has registered his business, but wait.. his business idea relies heavily on exports and import of goods. Now, what are the procedures for these? How will he know what documents are necessary? which goods are legal? from which country is he more likely to get a good deal? Which goods are exempted from tax and which have additional costs to them?
The platform of Mauritius Trade Easy (http://www.mauritiustrade.mu) is here to help with that. It is interactive and contains the information necessary for Ved or other entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs. It contains the trade agreements that Mauritius has signed and this information can be leveraged for even better decision making. Basically, this site is the rule book for international trade with Mauritius whether from within Mauritius or from outside.
The platform also caters for the Intellectual property, that is the intangible but very important assets of the business. While there may be many different documents and links I found this document the most straight to the point and relevant in the entrepreneurship context. It explains IP, patents among others and complements them with the process to apply for those, their costs and with case studies. Intellectual property is very important and may be key to the successor to the failure of your endeavor, so do spare a thought for it.
Another key element that was merely brushed through the canvas is Market research, but that’s a post for another day. So this is it for this time. I do hope the following information has been helpful especially if you are a management/entrepreneurship student, a business person or an aspiring entrepreneur. Views, feedbacks, and questions that add to the topic are very much appreciated.