A helping hand, by Rasheeda Bhagat
Thursday, April 28, 2005
In a bid to create sustainable and gainful employment, aid resource utilisation and reach technological inputs to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat conducted the second Commonwealth-India small business competitiveness development programme in Chennai last week.. An important achievement of this conference was to mainstream gender participation in economic activity, “and I’ll not be exaggerating when I say that at most sessions the women entrepreneurs made the maximum impact by their presentations,” says Ram Venuprasad, Adviser (Enterprise), Commonwealth Secretariat (CS).
He gives the example of Isobelle Gidley, “a fantastic and very passionate woman from Vanuatu in the south pacific, a country of two lakh people with 120 languages. She fought against all odds to ensure a sustainable economic employment for the indigenous people of her country in exporting copra and other activities. We’ve been working with her and she is a good example of how concerned and feisty people within a community can make a big difference.”
Funded by the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation, the development arm of the CS that was established in the 1970s, the CS’ primary objective is to reach the ICT (Information, communication, technology) component to SMEs. “We’re looking at the concept of `fortune at the bottom of the pyramid’, and are seen as a trusted partner of the SMEs.”
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Source: The Hindu Business Line