The West Bengal state micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) department has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) under which the latter will provide expert training in ten identified sectors with sound export potential. The department plans to impart the IIFT expert training to 100 entrepreneurs in a year.

That will be followed by six-month handholding support, according to media reports from the state.

The sectors identified include jute, foundry, zari and leather. The MoU was signed at the Digha Business Conclave held in December last year.

District-wise training is being provided to entrepreneurs in association with the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) for value addition to products according to changing market demand. Twenty five entrepreneurs will be selected out of them in batches for a three-day residential training programme to be conducted by IIFT.

The first batch of 25 has already undergone the training, according to the department.

The department is in talks with the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP), which will offer training twice a month to those associated with manufacturing handicraft items, terracotta, etc. It is also discussing with the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur for technical intervention to boost export potential of various products.

The state believes that products like Purulia mask, Sitalpati of Cooch Behar, the mats of Sabang and the different handicrafts of Junglemahal will have a much greater export potential, with some technological intervention and better packaging.