The SMEs form a vibrant pillar of the Mauritian economy through their important contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and socio-economic development. SMEs are recognized for their significance and their resilience in responding to fast changing conditions, even in times of the economic downturn. This paper aims to address financial illiteracy among Mauritian SMEs by proposing an integrated financial assistance strategy for small firms in view of enhancing the financial sustainability, growth and development of their business entities. The study adopts a dual methodology to address the study objectives. Two focus groups were held as part of the qualitative approach to quantify the level of financial literacy and to ultimately assess the extent of the problem. The paper also highlights the specific gaps and needs in terms of financial education and contributes to designing the most adapted solutions in terms of training and IT to respond to these needs. The research findings confirm the lack of financial knowledge among the Mauritian SMEs and the extent of their IT readiness. The survey has also revealed that although there is some degree of awareness about the most common sources of finance, the cost implications are not always fully understood. This lack of awareness on the mode of finance and the conditions apply thereto point to the existing financial education gap in the Mauritian SME sector. This further reinforces the need to implement an integrated financial platform.
Key words: SMEs, financial literacy, financial assistance strategy, Mauritius.
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