Bengal hits the road to identify entrepreneurial talent

Anurag Dey   |  Kolkata


Having made some progress in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, the West Bengal government has now trained officials specifically to hit the streets to scout for entrepreneurial talent.

Over 400 officials, trained by the premier Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta (IIM-C), would move from block to block in the districts organising clinics to inform, assist and motivate prospective entrepreneurs to start their own business, an official said.

The target is to create 4,000-5,000 new entrepreneurs besides assisting the existing ones.

Under the tie-up, IIM-C has been providing technical assistance to the MSME department for developing entrepreneurship and collaborating to organise 'Synergy' - a business conclave aimed at providing support and personalised guidance to entrepreneurs.

"Requiring a relatively lesser investment and resources, MSMEs generate a lot of jobs. We have been coming out with newer initiatives to give a fillip to the sector and this is one of them where our officers will be scouting for potential entrepreneurs besides assisting the existing investors," MSME Joint Director Raj Kumar Middya told IANS.

"Going from block to block in the districts, we will be organising clinics where people interested in investing will get all the information, assistance as well as the motivation they need to set up a unit," Middya added.

While the political rivals find the state's industrial scenario bleak, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been presenting a rather rosy picture, especially in the MSME sector.

Banerjee recently posted on Facebook that in the last three years, more than 35,000 new units employing nearly 320,000 people had been set up . She also said the sector accounted for credit disbursement worth Rs.35,000 crore ($5.7 billion), the highest in the country.

She also asserted that her government sanctioned loans worth Rs.1,000 crore while investment proposals close to Rs.5,000 crore were received for the sector.

As part of the initiative, the department will also be setting up Financial Clinics and Single Application Gateways (SAG) in all the districts.

"In the financial clinics, entrepreneurs can get all finance-related assistance, including bank loans, in quick time while the SAGs provide a single window clearance for the projects saving much of time and energy of the investors," said Middya.

Ashok Banerjee, Dean of New Initiatives & External Relations at IIM-Calcutta, said the MSME officials have been specifically trained to identify entrepreneurial talent and capacity building.

"Since the tie-up in September 2013 we have trained over 400 officials with specific emphasis on identifying entrepreneurial talent and capacity building keeping in view of the economic and social requirements of the state," Banerjee told IANS.

Amid growing concerns over Bengal's industrial scenario, especially in the absence of big-ticket investments and closure of iconic units, economist Dipankar Dasgupta hoped the innovative scheme kicks up industrial activity. - IANS