US-based ecommerce giant Amazon on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Karnataka government to drive e-commerce exports from the state, which is home to about 800,000 micro, small and medium enterprises employing 5.6 million.

Amazon will train and onboard MSMEs from Karnataka on Amazon Global Selling, its exports programme, enabling them to sell their ‘Made in India’ products globally in over 200 countries and territories, according to the state industries department.

“Karnataka has a vibrant agro, textile and garment, biotech, and toys/handicraft sectors which are held together by lakhs of MSMEs. Our partnership with Amazon India will encourage our MSMEs to leverage Amazon’s global presence and showcase their products to customers across the world,” industries minister Jagadish Shettar said.

“This is also an effort to display the strength of the state’s manufacturing and innovation prowess. Our government remains committed to making Karnataka an attractive business and investment destination,” Shettar said on the occasion of the signing of the MoU.

Amazon will conduct training, webinars and onboarding workshops for exporters from MSME clusters like Ballari, Mysuru and Channapatna. The workshops will focus on sharing knowledge and imparting training to MSMEs about B2C e-commerce exports and selling worldwide through Amazon’s 17 international marketplaces to over 300 million customers worldwide, the department said in a statement.

“Ecommerce companies like Amazon have complemented government’s efforts in not only meeting the needs of customers by safely delivering essentials but also MSMEs which moved online to grow and expand their business during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Gaurav Gupta, additional chief secretary of industries, said.

Karnataka has multiple GI products like Bidriware, Channapatna toys and Kinnal craft.

Mysore Silk, Udupi cotton and Ilkal sarees are world-famous. This will go a long way in helping the livelihoods of artisans, weavers and craftsmen from the state, he said.

“Over 50% of sellers from Karnataka on Amazon are from tier-II cities and beyond. Our government invites Amazon to expand its footprint beyond Bengaluru to other parts of the state,” Gunjan Krishna, commissioner for industrial development, said.

Collaborations such as those between Amazon and MSMEs that are enabled by the government will help the state tide over the Covid-19 induced hardship and help get the economic growth back on track, she added.

The MSME sector contributes 29.7% to India’s GDP and accounts for 49.66% of exports and close to 45% of manufacturing output.

The sector was the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, as supply chains were disrupted across the world and trade came to a near standstill.

Amazon India global trade director Abhijit Kamra, consumer business vice president Manish Tiwari, and vice president for public policy, Chetan Krishnaswamy, participated in the event.