A three-member team from the School of Management, Boston University, will visit the city early next year to explore the possibility of offering degree courses in small-scale industries management. The initiative to rope in one of the premier universities with an entrepreneurship development programme is anchored by Boston Pledge — the association of non-resident Bengalis in North America.
According to the plan, drawn up during the Banga Sammelan in Boston in 2001 and worked out during this year’s annual show at Atlanta, the US university will tie up with the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BNCCI)-promoted Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI).
At present, the institute offers short-duration courses to churn out entrepreneurs in areas like food processing, leather technology, jewellery designing, manufacturing, etc.
“Peter Russo, head of the entrepreneurship development department in Boston University, will lead the team, which will spend over a week in Calcutta to conduct a proper due-diligence of the existing facilities in EDI,” said industrialist Bhaskar Sen.
“Till now, the institute has been churning out grassroot or barefoot managers. Many of them have opened up their own units and created employment opportunities in rural Bengal. But now, we want to scale up the level of training to further the scope of employment-generation, with the help of Boston Pledge,” added Sen, who looks after the EDI on behalf of BNCCI and is also the city-based representative of Boston Pledge.
Though decisions on the number of students, the mode of selection and course fees are yet to be worked out, the role of the US university has already been defined. “They will help in developing the curriculum and training of faculties. And Boston Pledge will foot the bills on these accounts. We have the necessary infrastructure at EDI, so the investment needed to add some new facilities won’t be much. We are confident of offering the course at substantially lower rates,” said Sen.
The non-resident Bengalis of Boston Pledge have also decided to intensify their efforts to bridge the gap with their homeland by measures like exchange programmes.
“As per the plan, every year, a number of second-generation Bengalis from the US and other parts of North America will be sent to Calcutta for summer training in their preferred areas. We will send young people from here to the US as well,” concluded Sen.