With over 50 per cent MSMEs expecting revenues to reach pre-covid levels within six months, the outlook for the sector is slowly looking optimistic.
It's no secret that digitalisation evened the playground out for a lot of SMEs, opening up a global market for even the micro players. When e-commerce giants like Amazon entered the Indian market, even rural entrepreneurs nestled in the most far-flung village in India can still do business with city clients. Then the pandemic began, and supply chains came to a grinding halt. SMEs and start-ups have been one of the biggest casualties of the pandemic and yet paradoxically the sector has also demonstrated a certain resilience and the ability to innovate quickly and frugally, cementing their importance to the India's economy and growth. "MSMEs are important job creators and form the backbone of our economy. In the next five years, technology and ecommerce will play a key role in enabling this growth and ensuring the success of millions of MSMEs in domestic as well as international markets," Union MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari said recently.
A new report released by Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) titled Space to Grow shows that new and emerging business support models are being used to allow more SMEs to achieve rapid growth, but also support business recovery post Covid-19. These are typically being offered to SMES and start-ups by various industry bodies and MNCs over the months in an effort to provide support and lend a helping hand. A few examples of these are:
In addition to the three key announcements-digitising 10 million MSMEs, enabling $10 billion in ecommerce exports and creating 1 million jobs by 2025, Amazon recently signed an MoU with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The agreement aims to increase export potential of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in 10 states and help them leverage ecommerce to boost domestic trade. Amazon India will work with the CII to train MSMEs into building and scaling their business in India and globally.
Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) are planning to jointly set up an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) to provide equity and loan support to SMEs. The scheme named 'Ubharte Sitaare' aims to identify Indian enterprises with potential advantages in technology, production and/or processes along with export potential, that have been underperforming or struggling to grow.