IFC and ICICI Bank Host Global Conference for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises in India
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and ICICI Bank today inaugurated a global conference for small and medium enterprises. This event, the first of its kind in India, is serving as a forum for sharing experiences and lessons learned from around the world. It will also focus on localization and marketing of the SME Toolkit, a free online resource to help small businesses improve their management practices and to understand the business regulatory environment.
Delegates will be trained to use the new version of the SME Toolkit, which was launched jointly by IFC, ICICI Bank, and IBM in August 2007. They will also gather ideas for developing the Toolkit in participants’ countries. The latest software version, Web 2.0, includes live chat, online forums, and interactive business directories that create a global community where smaller businesses can interact and collaborate. The twenty three global partner organizations in the Toolkit program can share content, enriching information and services for small businesses around the globe.
V. Vaidyanathan, Executive Director, ICICI Bank, said, “SME development is a key pillar to private sector growth in emerging markets. We are glad to meet and share the experiences today that will enable us to improve and enhance the Toolkit, thus helping SMEs benefit from it in every possible way"
About 23 countries are participating in the conference. Laurence Carter, IFC Director of Small and Medium Enterprises, said, “We are delighted to see so many participants from around the world using a common platform to offer tailored support to small and medium businesses from Africa to Asia to Latin America. Developing and supporting global partnership networks to benefit small business development is part of IFC’s core strategic goals.”
ICICI launched the India SME Toolkit site (www.india.smetoolkit.org) in August 2007. It contains up-to-date information and tools designed to help SMEs increase productivity, efficiency, and capacity. The site also contains about 20,000 notifications, 10,000 circulars, 600 draft agreements, 3,600 business forms, and 4,500 legal queries. The Toolkit is also available as online and offline modules, including the portal, CDs, mobile alerts, and training sessions. The online modules are available in English and Hindi.
The global resources for the SME Toolkit are developed by IFC, with technical support from IBM. ICICI Bank makes the content multilingual and tailors it to the Indian context. The bank is working to make the Toolkit available to all SMEs in India.
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