Global IT majors including Facebook, Amazon andMicrosoft are lending a helping hand to the beleaguered Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector in Uttar Pradesh to sharpen their competitive edge.
These marquee brands are offering their domain expertise to prepare the MSMEs compete at the national and international level through IT-based interventions and business processes.
UP is home to over 3 million MSMEs, which contribute 50% to the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) and provide direct and indirect jobs to nearly 40 million people. The state accounts for nearly 12% of India’s MSME might.
However, the sector is constrained by numerous challenges, including structural, lack of marketing support/wherewithal, lack of market information etc. These combined with other factors inhibit their growth and ambition to expand footprint beyond home state and compete at a larger stage.
Under its ‘Boost your Business’ programme, Facebookhad over a period of five weeks held series of events and outreach activities in major industrial towns of Kannauj, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Lucknow.
Interestingly, UP had been selected as the launch pad for the programme aimed at increasing investment in small businesses in India. Facebook teams visited famous markets and business hubs of these cities and educated businesses about how they could use Facebook platform to build an online presence to grow.
The teams helped them create business pages on Facebook and apprised them of ways, which could help them maximize the digital reach of their business and products.
In UP, more than 1,500 pages were created and around 3,000 MSMEs were reached by Facebook. In Lucknow alone, over 500 business pages were created. Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had participated in the Facebook interaction with MSME entrepreneurs last week.
Yadav announced the state government would welcome initiatives, which helped the MSMEs grow and prosper. “Today, the businesses compete at global level and the unique thing about UP is that every town has its own traditional industry.”
UP has region and product specific traditional MSME hubs and clusters across the state viz. Varanasi (zari, silk), Bhadohi (carpet), Lucknow (chikan), Kanpur (leather), Agra (footwear, leather), Aligarh (lock), Moradabad (brassware), Meerut (sports goods) etc.
Facebook India, head of economic growth initiatives, Ritesh Mehta said going forward the company could launch a ‘train the trainer’ programme in UP in consort with industry for skills development dedicated to MSMEs.
Meanwhile, e-commerce giant Amazon had also held a programme in the industrial and commercial town of Kanpur to enable MSMEs get online and sell on the portal.
‘Amazon Tatkal’ is a specially designed studio-on-wheels offering a suite of launch services including registration, imaging and cataloguing services, as well as basic seller training mechanisms targetted at small businesses.
Microsoft is aiming to cover 20,000 units under its cloud technology. It has joined hands with industry associations in UP to reach out to MSMEs for offering cloud services. Cloud allowscompanies to store data at remote location and access it when needed in a secure environment.
The company maintained cloud would seamlessly connect MSMEs with their suppliers, distributors, government agencies and expand their market access. The company works with its network of over 10,000 partners nationally to assist MSMEs seek cloud intervention.