As the world grapples with economic meltdown, around 30 Commonwealth countries, including India, are set to explore small and green business opportunities for livelihood solutions to the rural poor.
India's Tech hub Bangalore will host a six-day institutional capacity building programme on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) beginning from Sunday.
The event, "Commonwealth-India Small Business Competitiveness Development Programme", will see around 60 participants from India and 29 other Commonwealth countries exchanging financial and technological expertise.
The programme is a collaborative effort of Commonwealth Secretariat, Central Bank of India and Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM). Former Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the programme.
"The idea behind the programme is to exchange views and ideas among the various Commonwealth countries about sustainable MSME development and how the role of financing and appropriate technologies can help achieve success in small businesses," said Ram Venugopal, adviser (enterprise development) of Commonwealth Secretariat, Saturday here.
He hoped that the resources presented during the course of the programme would help the Commonwealth countries examine the key questions in the area of MSME development to achieve sustainable economic growth.
The event will also focus on India's vast expertise in the areas of agro, rural and MSME development.
A series of programmes were earlier held in India for rural development.
According to EXIM Bank, Indian small business industry is worth billions of dollars and is yet to be fully tapped.
"Most of the Commonwealth countries are poor, but have huge natural resources which in most of the cases go untapped. Thus, through the event we will help small time enterprises to use natural resources for successful business set-ups," said S.R. Rao, executive director of EXIM Bank.
The event will also see an expo displaying natural and eco-friendly products manufactured by rural artisans and small businesses from across the Commonwealth.
Simultaneously to commemorate the UN General Assembly declaration of 2009 as the International Year of Natural Fibres, a special programme titled "Commonwealth Natural Fibre Skills Development" will take place on the sidelines of the event.
Around 40 participants from 27 Commonwealth countries will participate in this event, during which a Global Network for Natural Fibres will be launched.
Industree Crafts Foundation, an Indian NGO, based in Bangalore and working in the area of natural fibres, is partnering with the Commonwealth Secretariat on this programme.
Along with panel discussion and seminars, the event will see small time entrepreneurs from across Commonwealth sharing their knowledge and expertise to build up a strong foundation for small businesses.