Handholding MSMEs for Future Readiness

18 Aug 2022

The micro, small and medium enterprises sector has a multiplier effect on an economy as a primary job creating sector, a prerequisite for economic growth, and empowerment of the population at large. MSMEs contribute 28% to India’s GDP, employing approximately 110 million people nationwide, including a large part of the rural population.

With over two-thirds of its members from the MSME sector, CII places utmost importance on its development. Through the years, CII has undertaken many impact-oriented measures toward enhancing competitiveness, strengthening digitization, building capacity and creating requisite support services. Our cluster development services provide training across all competitiveness aspects such as quality management, energy efficiency, and business development for smaller enterprises in a shared learning format, which enables participating firms to learn from each other’s best practices.

With acceleration of digital technologies in the post-pandemic period, there is an increasing need for MSMEs in India to take advantage of the evolving integrated technologies for ease of operations, speedy and easy access to finance and reaching out to new markets for business expansion. Efforts on these lines will help them to create opportunities while enhancing their productivity and efficiency.

In the present times, the future of any business lies in how it embraces innovation, leverages digital technologies, and adopts new-age financial solutions to achieve growth. There is a need to promote digitalization among SMEs. One such initiative for promoting digitalization in MSMEs by CII is our Digital Saksham programme.

This programme works on improving competitiveness of MSMEs and builds digital financial resilience. It is being implemented in three phases – the first phase includes building awareness by imparting financial and digital literacy with a targeted outreach of 3 lakh enterprises, pan India. This will help MSMEs attain the knowledge and access to personal finance strategies and digital financial instruments through digital tools.

The second phase includes trainings, wherein both online/offline trainings will be extended to over 75,000 enterprises from the targeted 3 lakh entrepreneurs. Such trainings will equip Micro & Small Enterprises with the skills and necessary knowledge to improve their financial situation and develop the ability to withstand unforeseen events.

The third phase includes adoption of digital tools for market access, credit solutions, and overall business growth. The end objective is to empower more than 50,000 enterprises digitally. Currently, the project has been rolled out in 8 states and 25 districts with over 40 trainers and coordinators.

Through this programme, CII has reached out to over 30000 enterprises for awareness, over 12000 enterprises for training & capacity building, and over 4000 micro enterprises for adoption of digital tools.

CII’s initiatives for strengthening the start-up ecosystem have brought together over a thousand start-ups and over 800 corporates for mentoring. Many small entrepreneurs have benefited from this initiative which has reached out to 100 incubators and 10,000 participants.

The CII Centre of Excellence for Competitiveness of SMEs based in Chandigarh has assisted MSMEs across sectors for over a decade. CII intensified its work to raise factory unit efficiencies through numerous capacity-building programs. The CII Cluster competitiveness learning programs have helped over 5200 small enterprises improve their productivity. It is a matter of pride that 32 of 80 Deming Prize winners for Quality are from India, and almost 1200 plants were assisted to become SME leaders.

To increase international engagement, CII has led robust interactions across regions including the Indo-Pacific, Africa, ASEAN, and Gulf, as well as with many countries worldwide, with a particular focus on SME business linkages. The results of such interactions have been highly favourable towards India and Indian businesses in building linkages and exploring opportunities with businesses in other countries.

Through its existing and future initiatives, CII will continue to collaborate effectively with the Government and proactively contribute towards preparing MSMEs for future readiness.

The article first appeared in the July 2022 issue of CII Policy Watch.