Fear of failure and lack of innovation are two of the preliminary findings of the assessment of the blue economy entrepreneurship ecosystem. Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) and Eco-Sol Consulting Ltd co-hosted a roundtable discussion on the introduction of blue economy entrepreneurship in secondary and tertiary education.
Chief Executive, Pouponneau, opened the session explaining that SeyCCAT sees itself as a convener of potential partners and providing a space for ideation and collaboration. She emphasized that SeyCCAT sees such discussions as vital to its sustainability as it will be providing a flow of funds for 20 years that will go towards ocean conservation and the blue economy, and subsequently for more years once the endowment matures in 2036. She indicated in the 49 applications received by SeyCCAT, only about 10 applicants were below the age of 30 and indicated that the feedback of young people will inform how an upcoming fund will be designed.
Dr Zimbroff, from the University of Nembraska-Lincoln in the United States, presented the preliminary findings of the 2.5 week assessment. He highlighted that regulations were perceived to be burdensome, and that the infrastructure needed improving. Additionally, other concerns of potential entrepreneur are fear of failure, the perception of entrepreneurs, and a general limited understanding of the Blue Economy.
These were followed by recommendations such as increased entrepreneurship education, events were failure is celebrated as moments of learning and to improve and the urgent need to identify mentors for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Discussions followed about the existing initiatives of the Department of Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation such as a partnership with UNCTAD on an entrepreneurship framework for Seychelles, and efforts to showcase successful entrepreneurs. Similarly, with the Ministry of Education working with ILO for modules in the curriculum but there was a need to contextualize it for Seychelles. Dr Zimbroff offered insights into what was being used in the United States such as an online course called Blue Print and extra-curricular competitions. However, there are continued concerns about the lack of IP protection of ideas.
Students of SBSA were able to share their view on how they want to lead businesses that work with and for nature.
In attendance was the Principal Secretary of the Department of Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation, representative of Ministry of Education, Department of the Blue Economy, Enterprise Seychelles Agency, Seychelles Business Studies Academy (SBSA), including students, young entrepreneur and members of the Blue Grants Committee. SeyCCAT is also, grateful for the generosity of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) for the use of its conference room facilities.
Following the Roundtable discussion, an experiential ‘learning by doing’ workshop was held benefiting 23 students and 2 lecturers of the Seychelles Business Studies Academy.