Kanpur: Workshop held on Friday, April 1, 2011
Micro and Small Enterprises in Leather Cluster take the Internet route for global reach
Digital Empowerment Foundation’s eMSME National Program reaches Kanpur with an educational seminar titled “Internet for MSMEs – Digital Empowerment of Leather Cluster”
Event Name: Empowering the Leather MSME Clusters [An Interactive Educational Seminar]
Held on Friday, April 1, 2011 (Time: 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM)
Venue: The Kanha Continental, G.T. Road (Near Coca-Cola Crossing), KANPUR
In the Union Budget for 2011-12, the Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee has proposed the setting up of Seven Mega Leather clusters by extending the Mega Cluster Scheme for development of leather products. One of the seven mega clusters will be set up in Uttar Pradesh, and perhaps in or around Kanpur district which is the leading leather product exporter in the state. Kanpur has over 300 leather products manufacturing units and the annual leather export from the city is in excess of Rs 3,500 crore1.
This is very encouraging for the Leather Cluster and the time is now ripe to push the usage of Internet tools and technologies to extend the reach of the leather micro and small enterprises to global markets.
Thus, the Interactive Seminar “Internet for MSMEs”, organized by Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) and supported by Verisign and Ministry of MSMEs at Kanpur on April 1, 2011 aimed to address in a timely manner the means leather MSMEs can employ to make themselves visible to and connect with customers globally in an efficient and cost-effective manner. With nearly 81 million2 Internet users in India and over 1.9 billion3 Internet users that exist worldwide, the Internet offers businesses of all sizes a rich and powerful medium to create awareness about their products and offerings. Businesses that are not present on the Internet will therefore miss out on being found by these net-savvy users who shop around for different vendors for products and services.
The program was inaugurated by Chief Guest Mr. Irshad Mirza, CMD, Mirza International Ltd. In the year 2010, Mr. Irshad Mirza was honored with Padmashri, the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India.
The government was represented Mr. K P Mishra, Joint Director, UP Govt, Mr. Rizwan Ali, Dy. Director, MSME Development Institute, Kanpur, Mr. A K Singh, Branch Head, National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC) Ltd. From local industry, another speaker was Mr. Hafizzur Raheman, President, Small Tanners Association, Jajmau.
Mr. Irshad Mirza shared his inspiring life story – how he started his career with Bata Shoes in pre-Independence India, moving on to start his business from scratch and finally taking his business to current level which employs more that 10,000 people. He urged all stakeholders to work together for country’s progress.
Mr. Kartik Taneja, Lead India Channels, VeriSign Naming Services, shared about VeriSign’s contribution to world-wide Internet infrastructure and its current mission to promote Internet adoption in remotest corners of India and the world.
Mr. Rizwan Ali, Dy. Director, MSME Development Institute, Kanpur urged all participants to take full advantage of the eMSME program and warned that without Internet local industries may become obsolete.
Participation & Impact
About 140 participants and regional stakeholders from various associations, organizations & government departments participated in the seminar which was acknowledged as a landmark event in Kanpur by speakers and participants.
Mr. Osama Manzar, Founder & Director, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), announced the setting-up of a local resource centre in Kanpur to ensure adequate technical support for the local clusters. As part of a tutorial, he shared a few best practices and case studies of grassroots organizations that have used Internet profitably and explained how various Internet tools & strategies could be used for building sustainable businesses with profitable growth.
During the open Question-Answer session, participants showed keen interest in having their websites up soon and inquired about Internet Domain Name ownership, website maintenance and relevance of techniques like Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Members of local groups and associations that have requested for their cluster website include Panjadari Cluster from Sujatganj Kanpur, who make one of the finest Dari products in world, Barkati Handicraft group headed by Suzma Kha, State Awardee and members Small Tanners Association (300 members) who manufacture and export leather.
Members of ILFS Cluster Development program were present with artisans of a Self Help Group (SHG)– Garib Nawaz Mahila Charm Shilpi Samooh – displaying their sample products. The SHGs have requested for DEF’s support in building websites to showcase their products.
A participation of very high local significance was by Shruti and Gore, twin sisters and eighteen-year-old daughters of general merchant Raj Kumar Batla. They suffer from ‘osteogenesis imperfecta’, an incurable disease due to which they cannot stand or walk but have million hearts due to their dedication towards singing and drawing and have been awarded the many prestigious awards. They have requested DEF for a new website.
Followup & Further Action:
On April 2, 2011, Mr. Osama Manzar visited Jajmau, the leather tannery hub of more than 416 tanneries and explored the possibility of DEF helping them build a large joint website and start an Integrated Computer cum Internet Center in their Tannery area to benefit the children, youth and laborers.
A resource centre has been set-up at Kanpur where the eMSME team has started work on website development requirements of MSMEs from all over Uttar Pradesh.