A tripartite team has come together to help businesses in Seychelles reinvent themselves and think outside the box to find solutions to problems brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With representatives from the private sector, government and civil society, the team’s focus is to bring people of different business backgrounds together so that ideas on how to rebuild the country’s economy can be better heard and acted upon.
“COVID-19 is a blow to everyone and this is the time for all of us to contribute. We must all play a key role. It is not about the government or the private sector. It is about all of us coming together to face the problem and rebuild our economy and get it back on its feet,” said Louana Pillay, the secretary general of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce (SCCI).
Taking tourism as an example, Pillay said that there might be a need to relook at the way that Seychelles is advertised and look at other ways of selling the island nation as a destination. She added that the country might need to have more activities for tourists or even relook at the tourism model.
Representatives said that exports is another sector of the economy that needs to be expanded.
Under the motto ‘Adapt, Invent, Overcome’, the Department of Industry and Entrepreneurship Development has come forth with a think tank, through which businesses facing difficulties can be guided. 
“We are currently working on the website to be launched in June for the tripartite and on there, as well as on the websites of ESA, SIB and Department of Industry And Entrepreneurship Development, there will be a section where people can input their concerns and we can give assistance,” said Angelique Antat, the principal secretary of the department.
Under what the Department of Health describes as the new normal, the team believes there might be a need to change the way businesses operate.
“If you were a business that was physically selling goods this could be the time to use an e-commerce platform and use technology to digitalise the business. Not all businesses will be able to do this, but where innovation can be used for a business to adapt, we will support them,” said Antat. 

Businesses might need to use technology and digitalise. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 
As a member of the team, the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) is focusing on giving guidance to businesses.
“This includes helping businesses identify what is affecting them, what they need to change, look at their financial position, and see, for example, how to treat their stock, and help with debt collection,” said the board’s chief executive, Cindy Vidot.
Vidot added that SIB has worked on documents that will help a business do the evaluation and have given training to staff to assist in the filling out of these documents.  The staff can then help businesses identify their problem areas as well as give advice.
The team’s work will be done in phases, tackling the biggest challenges first. After further discussions and analysis, an announcement will be made on what these phases will be. The tripartite is keeping in mind that the tourism industry and related businesses have had the worst blow.
Already the Enterprise Seychelles Agency (ESA) has started assisting businesses through videos that can be found on the agency’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
The deputy chief executive of ESA, Jordan Camille, said that the online learning programme replaces a physical one.
“We have so far uploaded ten videos on different training such as finance, cash flow, how to deal with difficult situations, and how to diversify one’s revenue. Going forward we want to make videos based on needs and challenges being faced,” said Camille.
He added that the agency will soon start doing webinar where viewers will be able to interact with the speaker. He invites people with business backgrounds in marketing, accounting, and so forth, to contact ESA on 4289050 or email them on info@esa.gov.sc.
Source: Seychelles News Agency