Written | 15 Mar 2021

Another national lockdown and the feeling of déjà-vu has never been more real. While we’re locked in for the second time (COVID-19 be damned!), businesses who have resumed their activities post-lockdown are once again having to review the way they work for the next weeks or so. And if we’ve been through this once, it certainly doesn’t mean it gets any easier. As an SME ourselves, we’re not only saying it, we’re living it. So, just like we did the first time, we’re back to share news that helps us so that it can also help our members and other SMEs 👇

1️⃣  How to get government support
2️⃣ (Other) new COVID-19 schemes
3️⃣  Services and resources available
4️⃣ Virtual local events to attend

HOW TO GET GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

To help businesses navigate this challenging time, the Government Wage Assistance Scheme and the Self Employed Assistance Scheme have been extended for March 2021.

For all sectors (other than Tourism), the allowance will be payable for half a month based on the 15-day lockdown period.

💰 The amount
Rs 12,688 under the GWAS. The equivalent of a half month basic wage of all employees earning up to Rs 50, 375.

Rs 2,644 under the SEAS. A top up of Rs 94 compared to the last SEAS which amounted to Rs 2,550.

✅  Who’s eligible for the GWAS/SEAS?
The private sector
Approved or registered charitable institutions
Charitable trusts and charitable foundations
Self-employed individuals

🏝  Are you from the tourism sector? 
Financial assistance will be covered in full by the government for the month of March 2021, capped at Rs 25,375 per employee (for employees earning up to Rs 50, 375) under the GWAS. 

Under the SEAS, self-employed individuals in the tourism sector will benefit from a monthly allowance of Rs 5,287.

🖱 How to apply? 
Same as last year, you can apply via the Mauritius Revenue Authority’s website: www.mra.mu! More on that here 👈

(OTHER) NEW COVID-19 SCHEMES

A new lockdown means new COVID-19 schemes in support of self-employed individuals & SMEs! 💪 Here are the schemes & measures announced by the Minister of Finance last Friday 20/03:

👨‍💼 Self-Employed One Off Grant
Rs 10,000. This is the amount of the one-off grant to self-employed individuals, on top on the Rs 2,250 allocated via the SEAS!

🔓 SME Interest Free Loan
This scheme will allow SMEs to apply for loans up to Rs 100,000 with the Development Bank of Mauritius.

💵 SME COVID-19 Special Support
Apply for loans up to Rs 1M with the DBM at a preferential rate of 0.5% p.a. & a 1 year moratorium on capital repayments & interest.

➕  Extension of VAT Deadlines
The deadline for VAT payment for SMEs, initially scheduled for 31 March 2021, has been extended to 15 July 2021.

⏸ DBM 1-Year Moratorium
A 1-year moratorium on capital repayments & interest for existing DBM scheme loans.

SERVICES & RESOURCES AVAILABLE

🏦  Banks
Basic banking services are once again available to the public (and businesses). Strategic branches for all banks will remain open. Make sure to check out your bank service provider’s website for more information on operating regions and opening hours!

What you need to know:
Access will be granted by alphabetical order as per the communique issued by the Government:
Fees applicable to shared ATM services will be waived or refunded, giving you access to any ATM of any bank without paying any fee

More news to follow on the Bank of Mauritius’ website 👈


👨‍💼  SME Mauritius
While on Work From Home, SME Mauritius remains available on the phone for support. If you have any queries, login via their website to reach out to your dedicated officer. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for more news from them!


🗂  Business Mauritius’ SME Support
To provide more support to SMEs, Business Mauritius set up a webpage full of resources. From government financing mechanisms to the latest news in business and more, you will find useful information right there 👈

VIRTUAL LOCAL EVENTS TO ATTEND

A new lockdown means a number of virtual events you can attend in your free time. We’re adding our best picks over the next two weeks 👇

💻  Women’s Coding Day
Saturday 20th @ 10AM

Le Wagon Women’s Coding Day is a full day workshop dedicated to women who want to learn how to code. Who’s it for? Complete beginners!

What will you learn?
Discover HTML and CSS
Learn how to integrate APIs through several examples of web APIs in your daily life
How to: define a UX product pitch, create a user persona, identify a core user journey and design a User Flow

Sign up here 👉  https://info.lewagon.com/womens-coding-day-mauritius


🔢  Managing Finance through Difficult Time for SMEs
Wednesday 17th @ 3PM

Hosted by SME Mauritius, this workshop will teach you:
Optimisation of costs (costing & pricing strategy)
Working capital management (cash, stocks & debts)
Budgeting (forecasting)

Hosting a business webinar during the lockdown?
Let us know & we’ll add it right in ✌️