SMEs are the core of every economy, but the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has severely damaged this growth driver of all emerging economies. Larger companies generally have larger, more robust balance sheets, access to capital and management resources, and are more resilient.
The Wadhwani Foundation (WF) has announced the Sahayata Initiative to help distressed small and medium enterprises (SMEs) affected by the economic crisis and public health workers improve COVID-19 knowledge and skills.
Wadhwani Foundation has committed Rs 200 crore and is building an ecosystem of partners, including government ministries and agencies, banks, and consulting firms, to help operationalize this large and complex initiative. The Sahayata Initiative consists of three programs:
- Sahayata Business Stability program
- Sahayata COVID-19 Skillingprogram
- Sahayata Public Health Innovation program
Romesh Wadhwani, Founder and Chairman, Wadhwani Foundation,in a statement said, “COVID-19 has created both a health and an economic crisis that is especially harming SMEs and jobs. Without proper credit and consulting support, the short- and long-term damage to the SME sector will be enormous. The Foundation’s investment in Sahayata supplements the government’s stimulus package by providing 10,000 SMEs with consulting services that will help them survive, stabilize, and ultimately grow into successful businesses and help save or create 100,000 jobs.”
Sahayata Business Stability Program
SMEs are the core of every economy, but the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has severely damaged this growth driver of all emerging economies. Larger companies generally have larger, more robust balance sheets, access to capital and management resources, and are more resilient. SMEs are much less resilient and need both capital and expertise to survive now, stabilize in the near term, and position themselves for growth. The Sahayata Business Stability program will provide upto 10,000 SMEs with transformational business consulting equipping them with the expertise necessary to survive, stabilize, and grow.
Wadhwani Foundation has signed partnerships with SIDBI, Clix Capital, IIFL Finance, Power2SME, and Magma Fincorp to select the SMEs for this program, jointly. Wadhwani Foundation is expanding its internal team dedicated to this program to 100 SME business consultants.
Starting in August 2020, this Sahayata program will sign up 50 SMEs per month,increasing progressively to 500 SMEs per month. After an initial high-touch engagement model supporting companies with revenue up to Rs 250 crores, Wadhwani Foundation will launch the next-generation, AI-powered self-service GENIE platform in mid-2021 to scale the program to additional SMEs.
In a statement, Mohammad Mustafa, Chairman and Managing Director, SIDBI, said,”In the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19, we believe that leading organizations should partner with each other to help MSMEs. As a responsive measure to facilitate revival and thriving of MSMEs, we are glad to know that Wadhwani Foundation, our existing MoU partner on mentoring MSMEs, is launching Sahayata Business Stability program. It shall provide free access to webinars, Do-It-Yourself tools, a curated bench of advisors, and mentors. This shall facilitate the emergence of stronger MSMEs, thus giving a fillip to the national mission of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.”
Sahayata COVID-19 Skilling Program
In addition to physicians and nurses at city hospitals and clinics, India’s public health infrastructure includes almost three million Asha and Anganwadi workers, home health workers, and nurses’ aides, as well as police and other volunteers. All are a crucial part of the public health response to COVID-19. However, most have limited access to needed knowledge to protect themselves and diagnose and care for COVID-19 patients. Information on the World Health Organization and other government websites is often difficult to find, understand, or use. The Sahayata COVID-19 Skilling program provides information in an interactive video format through a variety of digital channels.
Sahayata Public Health Innovation Program
The COVID-19 crisis has shown how unprepared countries are in dealing with a pandemic. Most countries underinvest in public health infrastructure,and this hobbles rapid response in a crisis. Anenormous opportunity for innovation in public health exists, especially using today’s new digital technologies, including telemedicine, real-time diagnostics and testing, and patient monitoring and care. Much of this necessary innovation will come from start-ups and early-stage companies that struggle to find sufficient venture capital to achieve their mission.
The Sahayata Public Health Innovation program will provide innovation grants or investments to upto 50 startups and early-stage companies to help accelerate innovation in public health technology in India. Each award will be between RS 25 lakhs to Rs 1 crore.
Source: Economic Times