@ Vikash Sharma | Sr Journalist
India: On the eve of International MSME Day, the global not-for-profit Wadhwani Foundation and its SME-led Initiative, Wadhwani Advantage, called for structured support for MSMEs as in post-pandemic times, small businesses need to adapt to new market dynamics, be confident of their product lines, and maintain competitive pricing.
Today, for example, access to cost-effective finance is mainly digital. Therefore, SMEs must pick up digital skills without which they are not likely to grow. Upskilling and reskilling the workforce in the MSME sector towards digitization will allow them access to broader sets of suppliers and customers, better payment systems, and broader market visibility, allowing them to scale while eliminating manual inefficiencies.
There is also a need for micro-enterprises (which form the bulk of the 63M SMEs, close to 95%) to mature into small enterprises and the small into mid-size SMEs. Sanjay Shah, Chief Operating Officer – India/SE Asia, Wadhwani Foundation, says, “With sixty-three million MSMEs creating 111 million jobs in India, they are the largest employment creators in the country and contribute significantly to India’s GDP. Structured support to MSMEs in post-pandemic times will largely be driven by their adoption of digitization, leading to larger collaborative ecosystems, broader sets of suppliers and customers, and better payment systems that fast become the path for business growth. The Wadhwani Advantage initiative is working on supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through a growth focus program for larger SMEs and a DIY (Do-it-Yourself) program to scale-up small SMEs. Both these programs will be augmented with virtual helpdesk support for SMEs. In addition, we are also launching a Wadhwani Advantage community platform that is meant to provide an SME Social Network for peer-to-peer networking and connects to advisors and customers.”
Multiple challenges inhibit the growth of MSMEs, like inadequate infrastructure, lack of access to capital, low productivity, and dearth of innovation. As a result, ~99% of businesses are unable to grow and remain micro in their life cycle despite having great potential for the same.
On the eve of International MSME Day 2022, Samir Sathe, Executive VP – Wadhwani Advantage at Wadhwani Foundation, says, “MSMEs are at an inflection point in India and carry the unmet potential to grow 2x-10x. We at Wadhwani Foundation remain committed to accelerating their growth with our unique model of external curated advisor-led consulting, PMO and subsidized funding support, productized IP, and a proposed community platform that will enable SMEs to access their ecosystem, thereby facilitating a systemwide change.”
According to a study by Assocham-Crisil, India’s MSME sector is expected to rebound with a 15% to 17% growth in revenues for the financial year ending 2022. Therefore, it is imperative that the support to the MSME sector remains strong and steadfast.