After her secondary studies and a brief period as a secondary school teacher, Leckrani Soobagrah joined Air Mauritius in 1972. She continued her career in air travel as Travel Consultant at Rogers Aviation from 1976 to 1980. Afterwards, as a shareholder in Budget Tours, she offered consultancy services in reservations and ticketing.
In 1987, she started her own travel and tours company under the aegis of Bonny Air Travel & Tours Ltd. A few years later, she created a sister company Bonny Air (International) Tours Ltd catering for in-bound tourism. She is recognized in the travel industry as one of the pioneers who promoted aggressively and successfully the Mauritius destination on the Indian market.
After several years of active membership in AMFCE, she was elected President of the Association for the statutory mandate of 2 years for 2006 and 2007. She continued the good work of her predecessors in reinforcing the visibility of women entrepreneurs through networking, sharing knowledge and experience, and mentoring grass-root women entrepreneurs.
To further the AMFCE mission of bringing together women who have invested or managed singlehandedly or jointly businesses in the manufacturing, service or retail sectors, a dinner conference was organised in November 2006 in collaboration with the French Embassy in Mauritius. In an exclusive speech, the main guest speaker, Mrs Laurence Danon, the then CEO of “Printemps” in France talked on the theme of “Branding.” Printemps is a renowned French department store chain known for particularly for its lines in beauty, fashion and lifestyle. The topic was chosen when Mauritius was facing one of its biggest economic challenges, that of having to position itself at International level where quality and standard were the top priorities.
In May 2007, AMFCE organized the International Day for “Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises” in collaboration with the South African Embassy. Delegates from South Africa joined Mauritian women entrepreneurs for the event.
In July 2007, a gathering of 30 unemployed women was organized to mark the opening of a Mauritian speciality restaurant at the seat of the “Mauritian Alliance of Women in Quatre Bornes, one of the main towns in Mauritius.
In August 2007, with a view of building a nation of creative and innovative women entrepreneurs, AMFCE participated in the mission linked to the visit of Mico Bosch Ltd, India, to Mauritius. Mr Murthy, Strategic Consultant with Mico Bosch Ltd in India and who is also a Technical and Vocational (TVET) Specialist, shared with us his experience in women empowerment in non-traditional sectors.
In November 2007, an MOU was signed between the United Nations Development Programme and Women in Networking (WIN) for the Women Leadership Programme project. WIN is an apolitical network which was founded in May 2006 by the following four key organisations:
- Junior Chamber International Mauritius
- Soroptimist International
- United Nations Development Programme in Mauritius.
Leckrani is still an active member of AMFCE and continues to act as coach to women entrepreneurs in Mauritius. As far back as 2006 she was selected as one of the five nominees of the TECOMA award, which is awarded yearly to five top entrepreneurs in Mauritius. In August 2014 she was also nominated for the award of the most influential woman in Africa in the tourism and leisure category.Read More
Since arriving in Mauritius in 1972 to join her Mauritian husband, Patricia has had a long and varied career in education and corporate training. She is now the owner and Managing Director of Consultancy Company Ltd (CCL), which offers corporate training programmes to both public and private organisations in Mauritius. An English/French bilingual, Patricia is also an experienced translator of academic and business documents for both Mauritian and foreign organisations. She has served on several institutional boards, including the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) and the Mauritius Institute of Directors (MIoD). She is currently serving as independent director for the MCCI Business School. A language graduate and qualified teacher of English as a second language, Patricia also holds professional qualifications in finance and entrepreneurship, and is completing her thesis for a doctorate in education.
During her 2-year mandate as President of AMFCE in 2010 and 2011, Patricia carried on the work of her predecessors in developing the role of AMFCE as the leading association of women business-owners in Mauritius, and, in line with the objectives of AMFCE, organising various capacity-building activities to foster women’s economic empowerment, for instance, in May 2010, a workshop on Women in Business: the way forward to mark the FCEM Day for Women Entrepreneurs in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender , Child Development and Family Welfare. In May 2011, the AMFCE hosted the FCEM World Committee with the theme Women Entrepreneurs: the driving force for economic empowerment. Another facet of AMFCE’s social engagement was also brought to the fore through two charity dinners organised in December 2010 and 2011 with the theme of Dine with a Cause, the proceeds of which were donated respectively to an NGO working in special education for children and another working to improve awareness of and support for people suffering from Lupus.
The constraints faced in organising these activities were those typical of a small NGO relying entirely on its members’ voluntary commitment, energy and abilities. Over the years AMFCE has benefitted from the support of many talented and successful businesswomen who have been willing to give their time and energy to help their sisters in business progress. Without this collective engagement none of the activities described above would have been possible.
Patricia also continued the efforts to position AMFCE on the international scene. The AMFCE represented Mauritius at the COMESA FEMCOM meetings in 2010 and 2011, and also in 2010 at the UNDP seminar in Johannesburg, South Africa on the theme Capacity Development for Women Entrepreneurs Engaged in International Trade in Africa.
At the end of Patricia’s mandate in March 2012 the challenge for AMFCE was to continue developing its contribution to women economic empowerment in Mauritius and widen the scope of its activities to cover the southwest Indian Ocean region.Read More
Clara Calou is an international certified Management Lead Auditor who has audited over 250 companies in Mauritius and in the Indian Ocean region over past 20 years. For last 5 years, she has set up her own company to accompany & train companies to develop their full potential, align with international standards requirements, meet statutory and regulatory requirements relating to their product or service while achieving excellence in their customer service and delivery so as to be successful and sustainable in this fast changing world.
Clara Calou is also socially engaged to help women entrepreneurs stand on their feet and has been the President of AMFCE (Association Mauricienne des Femmes Chefs D’Entreprise ) over 2 years – 2017 to 2018, as well as board member of MCCI (Mauritius Chamber of Commerce Institute) during same period.
She has been selected by the US Embassy to be the Mauritius representative to the IVLP (International Visitor Learning Program) in March 2019.
She has been appointed by the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities to be board member of MARENA (Mauritius Renewable Agency) for the period 2018-2019.
She believes that if ‘women grow, a nation grows to a better life’
Clara’s Vision for the 2-years Presidency
The 5 core themes, which was the focus areas of the 2-years Presidency of Clara Calou, can be summarized as follows:
- Networking, caring, friendship
Create the appropriate space and events for members to meet up and get to know each other better
- Professional growth
Provide opportunities to Members to grow their respective businesses
- Support through projects
Provide assistance to members through involvement in Projects
- Personal Growth
Provide opportunities to Members to grow personally
- Contribution of members
To optimize on AMFCE members collaboration to further nation-wide projects
Achievements during Clara’s Presidency
- Several local meetings and events were attended during the year, mainly with the Australian High Commission, the HRDC, NPCC, Ministry of Business Enterprise and Co-operatives, EFOI amongst others. Worth noting are the following events, aimed at:
Personal Growth of AMFCE members:
- 28th May 2018: Talk about “
One Woman’s Ontological journey through life” with The Organisation for Women
in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) chapter in collaboration with The
Australian High Commission. By Professor Lyn Karstadt ,Deputy Vice Chancellor
(International), Murdoch University, Australia
- 28 August 2019- Members event: Workshop with CIM-Finance & the MRA
25 October 2018 visit to SME Mauritius
Professional growth / support through projects – mainly with the Australian High commission
- 18 May 2018 Debrief
meeting with AHC on mentoring program
- October 2018 – meetings with AHC for Australian High Commission’s Direct Aid Program + Project proposals consideration
- 23 November 2018 AMFCE members participated in WHITE RIBBON FUND RAISING DINNER—Quote feedback from High Jenny Dee ‘Wonderful news – and thanks for the terrific support through AMFCE’
- 28th August visit at AMFCE mentee, Lionnet Couture, by Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls to see progress in line with Mentoring program in the region
- September 2018 –AMFCE Organised for Mrs Brunette Emilien – AMFCE mentee from Rodrigues for Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls to see progress in line with Mentoring program in the region
- 28 January 2019 –meeting with Ms HK Yu, First Assistant Secretary at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, H.E. Jenny Dee –also discussed possibility for 3rd Phase Mentoring program
- In terms of regional events, AMFCE participated in the AHC Coaching & Mentoring Programme Train The Mentor in Seychelles & Madagascar
MENTORING PROGRAM PHASE 2:
- 1st May
2018 : Participation of AMFCE (Clara & Aline) in Women in Business
- 2nd May 2018 Signature of MOU between GFEM and AMFCE for B to B
- 2nd May 2018: Meeting with the 9 provinces of Madagascar
- 3rd May 2018: Visit to FIM (Foire International de Madagascar)
- 4– 6 May : 2nd PHASE of mentoring program in Comoros
An MOU was signed with the Seychelles Association of Women Entrepreneurs, SAWE.
- On the international front, AMFCE attended the FCEM World Congress in Rome in November 2017
Time constraints: AMFCE-members are all professional working women, most of them running their businesses single-handedly. The amount of time devoted to AMFCE is therefore restricted, but still, members try their best to be active and supportive
The way forward for AMFCE, beyond 2019
The main focus, for the next Presidency, will be on the organization of FCEM 2020 in Mauritius. Over and above, it is vital
- to sustain the relationship-build with Ministries, NPCC, HRDC, Australian High Commission, US embassy,
- to consolidate relationship with the region & have common projects with Seychelles and Comoros with whom AMFCE has signed the MOU, and especially,
- To continue the journey for women entrepreneur empowerment
After her studies at the Holborn Law Tutors in London, UK, 1983, Mooneera Joonas-Malleck joined the family business, the Joonas Group, founded in 1969, with a diverse range of activities, notably, trading building materials, operating a rolling mill and galvanising plant, manufacturing office furniture and dealing in real estate. She learned the ropes from her father and acquired more skills in management and administration by regularly attending professional training seminars.
At the same time, to express her creativity and passion, Mooneera set up her own consultancy business in wedding décor in 2010, Moon Design. Mooneera works in collaboration with not only reputed Mauritian events companies, but also international designers and wedding planners.
Mooneera’s two-year mandate as President of AMFCE from March 2002 to March 2004 was to consolidate the work done by her predecessor Aline Wong and put the budding organisation in the forefront. Under her presidency, AMFCE lobbied to be elected as council member on the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) as well as the Mauritius Employers’ Federation (MEF) so that AMFCE could be directly involved in decision making at the highest institutional boards overseeing activities in the private sector. The established target was met and as president of AMFCE, Mooneera participated in every council meeting held during her mandate.
To build on this solid foundation, AMFCE promoted training and the creation of new businesses as well as fostering the development process of established women business-owners, so that the success stories would concern not only a few pioneers but that all Mauritian women could participate fully in the economic progress of their country. The AMFCE Action Plan for her two-year mandate was built around two main projects.
– Training had already been identified as one of AMFCE’s core needs. After the training course on “Finance for non-financial managers” which AMFCE ran during the previous President’s mandate, Information Technology was the next area identified where many of AMFCE members were struggling. Support for the design and running of the project was sought and obtained from AMSCO, a branch of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). A two- member team composed of a Mauritian MBA holder and an IT specialist provided under the IFC’S internship programme conducted a three-month needs assessment of five pilot companies, all members of the AMFCE, including Mooneera. It was a most enriching and useful exercise which greatly helped all five participant companies to improve their use of IT in their operations.
– The second project embraced another aspect of the mission at AMFCE, that of gender equity. The AMFCE survey project was shaped so as to cover existing structures, identify areas of action and make proposals for a better representation of women. During the exercise, AMFCE drew up a shortlist of resources and established a data base for capacity building objectives. By its ability to match with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the project attracted the eye of several international agencies such as the UNDP.
However, one of the biggest challenges was to agree to hosting the 51st FCEM World Congress within four months, when, unfortunately, the original host country, Taiwan, had to withdraw due to the SARS epidemic in 2002-03. The theme chosen for the Congress, which was held from 1 to 4 October 2003, was “Partners for peace and shared prosperity”. Organising a World Congress entails a lot of entirely voluntary work, pressure and stress. Mooneera is forever thankful to the AMFCE organising committee and its members for their vitality and energy, as well as the sponsors and all the endorsing bodies for their support to make the Congress an enjoyable and enriching experience for everyone.
At the end of her mandate, with the help of a dedicated sub-committee of members, AMFCE published a Code of Ethics for its members.
AMFCE has always been a pioneer in furthering and enhancing the status of women in Mauritius and the Indian Ocean region. Today, Mooneera is proud to see that all the efforts have paid off and that the AMFCE is continuing on the right track.