A passionate cultural entrepreneur in Mauritius

  • Laura Kaz Out
Published last year

Laura spent two years and a half travelling the world as a backpacker before she moved to Mauritius in 2009. She has now set up a cultural business and organises the popular Kaz'Out which is one of the leading festivals on the island. Laura shares her cultural passion with Expat.com.

Hi Laura, can you tell us a few things about you yourself?

I'm French from Poitou-Charentes. I came to Mauritius in September 2009. Actually, I was here to see a friend of mine but I never went back.

I've been working in the tourism field for a couple of years so I've travelled a lot as a delegate for many tour operators. I've also lived in a few countries. As seasons went by, I felt the urge for a solo travel with my backpack. I was gone for two years and a half before going back to France, and now I'm in Mauritius.

You and your partner are the organisers of the Kaz’Out music festival. How and when did this idea start?

I rather think it's a dream come true – as much for me as for him. We have both been involved in the world of entertainment – one in music and the other in dance and theater. Our passion for festivals led us to launch our own festival as we had already set up our agency named Lively Up. One of its goals is to make an active contribution to the local cultural scene (mainly through music in our case) and to provide a better visibility for local groups abroad. Till now, Kaz'Out has been successful in these two missions. Kaz'Out's first edition was held in 2013 in the beautiful Eureka garden. During the past years, we have been innovating and improving with the help and support of various partners who believe in us.

Why is Mauritius a good place for such an endeavour?

It's all about celebrating art and promoting artists via events organised in amazing venues. As it takes place over a short period of time, it has a higher reach both in terms of participation and quality. Along with the organisers' zeal and the venue's exceptional atmosphere, collective interest also contributes to making the event a real success. I think this is how Kaz'Out has become such a popular event in Mauritius.

Was it difficult to set up your business in Mauritius?

It was quite simple! I rather believe that you can never achieve perfection the first time – some document is always missing, but it's not so bad after all.

What motivates you to keep going?

The fact that everything is going on beyond our expectations.

What has been the most rewarding moment in business?

It's when the participants come to thank us and tell us how they feel free from all social codes since they joined Kaz'Out. Everyone mingles with each other and this is a really special feeling.

How is your everyday life as an entrepreneur in Mauritius?

It's definitely a huge responsibility but it's totally worth it. Of course, being employed means having a greater job security but I've always been open to challenges. It also allows me to live in total harmony with myself. With proper planning, I manage my business while taking some time for myself now and then.

Have you been able to adapt to the Mauritian way of life?

I don't really recall a particular adaptation period – maybe because I'm still trying to adapt. Of course, speaking French helps a lot, but it's way better to speak Creole which is the local language. I think I've improvised my kind of language, which often sounds funny to people.

What is one thing you like the most about Mauritius?

I really like wild camping.

Is there anything that you dislike?

I really don't like it when people respond to me in French when I'm making an effort to speak Creole.

What surprised you the most about Mauritius?

Simply Mauritians.

What new habits have you developed in Mauritius and what old habits have you quit?

I've started eating cheese for breakfast. I cannot do without butter and Kraft cheddar anymore. On the other hand, I don't think I've given up any old habit. It's not even likely to happen.

What are your views on entrepreneurship in Mauritius?

I don't really have much to compare it to since it's my very first experience as an entrepreneur in Mauritius – but I definitely feel like it's easier to set up a business here than in France. The process is quite simple. For the rest, all you have to do is believe in yourself and in your project. Also, do not expect anyone to help you out. Take your own initiatives.

Is there anything you would like to do in Mauritius but you haven't had the opportunity yet?

I want to try kite surfing.

Can you share your most memorable experience in Mauritius?

I saw a full rainbow for the first time in Mauritius and since then it has almost become part of everyday life. I had never seen it anywhere else before.

Have you ever had a moment when you almost felt like leaving Mauritius? How did you overcome this feeling and what keeps you here?

So many times! But not anymore. Maybe I've passed that stage of my life when I would act spontaneously. Now, I'd rather plan ahead and travel to take breaks, do things for myself, see my family. When I'm back to Mauritius, full of energy, nothing can stop me!

Give us some useful tips that soon-to-be expatriates in Mauritius will benefit from.

Learning the language is the key to success – whether you're moving to Mauritius or elsewhere. It helps you adapt more easily.

What are your plans for the future?

We'll continue to develop Kaz'Out and its various poles. I would also like to find a nice nature spot to settle in with plenty of space for animals, travel more and spend more time with my family.