Being an entrepreneur in Mauritius: Marc and Anja took the plunge
Discover the testimony of Marc, who became an entrepreneur in Mauritius, and Anja who tell us their story, their advice and anecdotes about their expatriation in the sun in our little corner of paradise.
At SmartTraveller, we are here to help you with your installation project in Mauritius! Many people want to change their life, however, taking the plunge is a little more difficult.
This testimonial will help you to make the right decision or, on the contrary, to make a different choice!
If you have an expatriation project in mind, let's discuss it together! 📞
Marc & Anja's testimony
Who are you?
Anja, 27 years old, formerly in financial audit for 5 years and in reconversion in tech and Marc, 29 years old auto-entrepreneur in tech; both from the Paris area.
Together for 10 years, with this famous expatriation project together that we had imagined while waiting for the subway to come back from high school. We wanted to live an unforgettable experience: to get to know something else.
Life does things well: we were able to take the plunge - or rather jump into a plane 10 years later, on 10.10.2020 (a lot of 10, right?). - as a famous rapper would say "only numbers 10 in my team" aha!)
What made you want to move abroad?
This project has always been part of our discussions, our desires, our "to-do" list.
Once we finished our studies, we saw ourselves starting our respective careers in Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore...), finally the opportunities led us to stay in Paris. But in June 2017, we set ourselves a deadline: to leave in 2020.
On the pro side, Marc has been an auto-entrepreneur in e-learning in the Big Data for a few months, allowing him to work anywhere. As for Anja, she would leave her job in March 2020 in view of her arrival abroad in mid-May and would start her job search on the spot.
Mauritius...Why did you choose our little island?
Thanks to the reports and various expatriate testimonials that we got, we had initially oriented our destination towards Vietnam, then, we don't know how we came across Mauritius anymore and tried to find out a little more about this small island.
One morning in June 2019, in the subway to go to work, Anja falls on the poster of the Expat Forum, where Mauritius would be represented. The show was over 2 days, it was the last day, so you really shouldn't miss it!
Once at the show, Emmanuel Maujean the founder of MeetYourJob came to see us. There followed almost 1h30 of discussions around Mauritius, literally he sold us this little piece of land; with all its good sides and its (some) bad sides but which seemed so minimal to us.
Back home, we agreed that we should visit Mauritius to get an idea before settling there permanently. One week later, our tickets were booked for 2 weeks at the end of August.
Our stay on the island allowed us to discover the island both with locals and expatriates.
Rather than staying in a hotel or in one of the nice villas/apartments, we opted for a small studio in Pereybere: the aim being to get an idea of the cost of living.
We really enjoyed the atmosphere on the island. Finally, deep down inside, we realized that this was what we were looking for: a gentle life, very different from Paris. And of course, to have sunshine all year round! These two weeks comforted us even more in our choice to leave. Back in France, we could only look forward to packing our bags for good in Mauritius!
What were your questions, doubts and fears before your departure?
Of course, we asked ourselves questions about expatriation: What if it doesn't work out? What if we don't like it? How are we going to start from scratch? How can we really live on an island? We who have lived all our lives in a big city.
We asked all our questions (apartment search, cost of living...) to SmartTraveller during our calls and email exchanges, we were very well informed and reassured.
Our doubts mainly concerned the feasibility of the project when the Covid appeared, having no visibility on a real departure date.
➡️ By HERE if you also wish to benefit from our accompaniment!
The change of life! It all starts here 🇲🇺
How did you organise your departure for Mauritius?
We were accompanied by the SmartTraveller team; the real contact took place in January 2020 (call at 9am in Mauritius - 6am in France, the alarm clock was buzzing!).
Naturally, we chose the self-employed permit because of Marc's activity and his desire to become an entrepreneur in Mauritius. Anaïs and the lawyer were always available and above all reactive until the day of our departure to make sure we didn't forget anything.
Once on site, everything went smoothly for the permit: go to Port-Louis to submit the complete file, permit obtained the same day. In 3 weeks, we were able to open the bank account and obtain the permit.
➡️ To find out more about the Self-Employed licence to become a freelancer in Mauritius it's HERE!
How did your housing search go?
We went through an agency that we contacted while we were still in France (end of September). Thus, the visits took place remotely via WhatsApp video. We were so excited before each visit that it brightened up our rainy days when at the end of the phone we saw the sun, the real estate agent in summer clothes presenting the properties (villas with swimming pool, apartment with sea view...).
It is after 3 visits (always virtual) that we put an option on our favorite. A bit risky, some would say... but we had a very good feeling with the agency. We were in even more of a hurry to get to Mauritius.
What means of transport did you choose on the island?
For the car, we had contacted a few rental agencies during our forties. Our car was waiting for us when we got out. Here are now 3 months and a half on the island, we still drive the same one. We haven't yet decided to buy it... which is much more complicated considering the testimonies we heard.
The arrival in the sun 🌞
If you had one word to describe your arrival in Mauritius, what would it be?
You have gone through the mandatory "quarantine" box in a hotel in Mauritius, a few words to describe your experience?
As for any expatriate in 2020, we certainly never imagined we would be in our forties. An option (alas, mandatory) that is costly, and not budgeted for but unavoidable.
We chose the Victoria BeachComber Hotel. We wanted a decent hotel, not excessive either, but one that would allow us to enjoy this midlife experience. Our room was very spacious on the ground floor, which allowed us to continue our sports sessions and do some walking in the garden and to get a little closer to the sea (but not too close). The staff was very friendly and took the time to ask if everything was alright. The negative point was the food... which was not at all worthy of a 4* hotel. In the end, this was the case for many hotels.
Our advice for the next newcomers:
- Bring a lot of board games. During the second week, the days seemed endless and sometimes the urge to work was gone, so playing Mikado, JungleSpeed or cards can relax while stimulating the brain.
- Bring a treadmill, jump rope, some weights. We were glad we took them with us. From the bed to the bathroom, the number of steps was about 50 a day so the sports sessions were doing a lot of good!
How was your installation in Mauritius?
One can only be happy, after so many months of waiting in a particular context.
We can say that we were very lucky, because everything went very well. It should be noted that our flight was the second since the opening of the borders, which means that for the administrative procedures and the search for accommodation, there were few files, which meant faster processing. Contrary to what we have heard, in normal times, delays are much longer.
One week after our release from quarantine, we moved into our apartment, so much dreamed and expected! That's when we really realized that our life was taking a real turn.
We have to admit that the fact that we came in 2019 helped us quite a bit: we already had a few points of reference and a few habits. In the end, not everything was completely unknown. We were also able to find the people we had already met.
We had no difficulties during our installation: very quick rental contract with no guarantee required, wi-fi installed within the same week...
How was your first meeting with the Mauritians? (supermarket, hotel, taxis, friends...)
We are pleasantly surprised by one thing: we find everything in Mauritius (when we look hard enough)!
Sometimes, we go to an Italian delicatessen to buy burrata, the real thing from Italy and some cold cuts. We find it crazy to be able to eat this kind of products, on an island thousands of km away from their country of origin!
What about your professional life in Mauritius?
Concerning our daily life, we both work from home: Marc on his projects and I'm training online. This allows us to go to the gym or go shopping whenever we want.
What's your daily routine like?
Our weekends have totally changed: in Paris, it was usually sports and brunch on Saturday, then mass, chill and preparation of the work schedule during the week. Every Sunday night, there was this little blues.
In Mauritius, our weekends revolve around diving, golf, days at the beach, or weekends in the South... To think we're at the beach on a Sunday is so crazy! The church where we go to pray is even in front of a small sandy beach!
I think we've all already had that blues, the last day/evening on the beach on holiday: thinking that we'll only see the sea again next year... Well now, we're quite happy to think that we can go back next weekend or even during the week.
Were you able to meet people easily?
We will say that for meetings, they may not be simple if you really don't know anyone. And at the same time, they can go very fast once you know someone.
In 3 months we met many more people than in a year in Paris - expatriation really pushes you to go and see others, to take the time to talk with others.
Speaking of taking the time, Maurice is a very good place to learn to put certain things into perspective: for example, the plumber didn't come at the agreed time, that's okay; finally if there's no emergency, he'll come tomorrow.
Besides, Maurice has transformed our view of many things.
We are (re)learning to go back to basics. The activities we do (diving, trekking etc...) make us even more sensitive about the protection of nature, especially on a small island like Mauritius.
This change of environment, of life has allowed Anja to really question herself about her professional objectives after these 5 years in financial audit. She then took up the challenge to start a new career in a field she has always enjoyed but never dared to explore, technology.
In this period of COVID-19, are you happy to be in Mauritius?
More than happy and above all grateful! You feel like you're in a bubble, or in a totally isolated corner, far from the anxiety-provoking atmosphere that reigned in France.
However, we would have liked to schedule a few weeks in France to see our family and friends again, or for them to come and visit us... We will still have to be patient!
Would you advise future expats to come to Mauritius now?
One undeniable piece ofadvice: if the idea of expatriation has crossed your mind for a fraction of a second, go for it! Even more so if it is in Mauritius!
We believe that living in Mauritius means wanting to live better, in an exceptional setting.
Of course, it is necessary to get as much information as possible, on the forums, the dedicated Facebook groups and above all do not hesitate to exchange to get testimonies of expatriates in Mauritius already present. It is essential to arrive with full knowledge of the facts, to accept the inconveniences so as not to disappoint quickly! One thing not to do is to want to return to what you experienced in your country of origin; this is the best way to miss out on a lot of things. To live elsewhere is to finally accept to lose our bearings, to leave our comfort zone in order to take up great challenges.
If you are going as a couple, set yourself some limits: both people must live the experience 100%, there must be no gap. That's what we said to each other before we left.
And finally to answer our question "What if it doesn't work? "we say, "We've managed to take a leap, start from scratch, change our lives. I think we're capable of doing it a second time. »
In order to meet people and thus for a better integration, it is essential to do activities: go to the gym, learn to dive or play golf, participate in networking evenings...and lots of others!
One word to sum up this magnificent adventure! 😃
Our motto: Build a life you don't need a vacation from!
Did Marc & Anja's testimony from expatriates in Mauritius make you want to take the plunge?
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To find out more about Mauritius, download our Expatriation Guide. 🌍
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