Industry body CII and Amazon India on Wednesday signed a pact to increase export potential of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in 10 states and help them leverage e-commerce to boost domestic trade. As part of the memorandum of understanding (MoU), Amazon India will work with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to train MSMEs in 10 states into building and scaling their business in India and globally.

They will also help the enterprises leverage technology to reach out to customers in India through the adoption of e-commerce.

As part of the MoU, Amazon and CII will conduct trainings, workshops and masterclasses to enable MSMEs to sell online.

In January 2020, Amazon made three key announcements – digitising 10 million MSMEs; enabling USD 10 billion in e-commerce exports; and creating 1 million jobs by 2025.

Amazon and CII will also work to create a special exports module to make exports simple for MSMEs across India.

The pact was signed at the 17th CII Global SME Business Summit.

“MSMEs are important job creators and form the backbone of our economy.

In the next 5 years, technology and e-commerce will play a key role in enabling this growth and ensuring the success of millions of MSMEs in domestic as well as international markets,” Union MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari said.

Addressing the summit virtually, he said the combined efforts of the government and the industry will bring us closer to realising the vision of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).

CII and Amazon will also publish regular reports that will include market analysis and insights for MSMEs on promising categories, marketing and branding of their products.

CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said, “Education about e-commerce and e-commerce exports will enable MSMEs to identify opportunities that help them access national and global customers.”

Amazon India Senior VP and Country Head Amit Agarwal said, “Through this collaboration, we aim to bring about a digital transformation for MSMEs in 10 states across India.”

At the summit, CII also launched the Digital Saksham initiative along with Mastercard’s Centre for Inclusive Growth and the National Institute for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ni-msme) to enable over 3 lakh MSMEs across India with digital know-how and acceptance.

Gadkari said, “I am pleased to note that the project Digital Saksham by CII, Mastercard and ni-msme entails a scale of reaching out to more than 3 lakh MSMEs in 25 cities, including rural and peri-urban clusters. This will help drive systemic transformation and further accelerate achievements towards meeting our goals and ensure financial inclusion.”

Mastercard Co-President (Asia Pacific) Ari Sarker said, “Small businesses play an enormous role in rebuilding local communities and supporting economic recovery.”

He added that it is critical to look for solutions that do not only focus on how we can support SMEs but also those that are designed to enable SMEs to support themselves.

The programme is an extension of Mastercard’s global and India commitment to empower, enable, and enhance small entrepreneurs making them more competitive, he added.

The implementation of the project is proposed from January 2021 and execution of trainings among the MSMEs from June 2021, said CII Deputy DG Amita Sarkar and Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth Vice-President Alison L Eskesen.