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Updated on: Saturday, November 20, 2021, 05:10 PM IST

CII, Mastercard, and ni-MSME’s Digital Saksham program to benefit 50k micro and small enterprises in Maharashtra

Launched nationally earlier this year, the program aims to educate and upskill micro and small enterprises to make them digitally competitive and integrate into the digital economy

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in partnership with Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth and National Institute for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (ni-MSME), an organisation of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Government of India, today rolled out its unique digital empowerment program for MSMEs, Digital Saksham, in the State of Maharashtra.

The Digital Saksham program focuses on equipping MSMEs with digital skills and know-how, helping them build digital financial capabilities, leverage digital platforms to expand the market reach, diversify their customer base and create resilient supply chains. The program will target Own Account Enterprises (OAEs), Micro Factory Sector Enterprises (FSEs) and Small Enterprises (SMEs) and conduct customized trainings with industry experts on the benefits of digitization.

In Maharashtra, Digital Saksham will offer workshops and other support services in Marathi to render knowledge among the state’s MSMEs, enabling them to adopt digital tools and technologies for enterprise development and growth. The project will involve various stakeholders such as regional, sectoral, and local associations and aims to reach out to over 50,000 micro-enterprises from diverse MSME clusters, spread across Maharashtra.

Subhash Desai, Minister of Industries and Mining, Government of Maharashtra stated that Maharashtra has highest number of internet users in the country. Therefore, efforts towards digitization through Digital Saksham project will show quick results. Minister appreciated CII, Mastercard and ni-MSME for coming up with this project. Further, Minister also stated that he is delighted to know that the Digital Saksham project is developing content in Marathi language due to which the rural population can understand and benefit from the same. Minister also added that this project will go a long way to transform MSMEs and make them future ready.

Commenting on the partnership, Nikhil Sahni, Division President, South Asia, Mastercard said, “Maharashtra, has the fourth-highest concentration of small businesses in India with an 8 per cent share of the country’s 6.3 crore MSME base. However, small businesses in the state are struggling to turn around the impact of the pandemic and continue to face challenges in getting paid, getting capital and getting online. With this program, Mastercard aims to equip these businesses with the knowledge and tools they require to adopt digital technologies that can enable them to overcome these challenges. This will also support the state’s economy with jobs, services and innovation these businesses can potentially contribute and accelerate the post-pandemic economic recovery.”

“Micro- enterprises play a significant role in shaping the economy for every State in India. Bringing them into the digital and formal economy, Digital Saksham projects aims to provide access to the digital tools to help them mitigate the impact of the pandemic and become future-ready. We understand the barriers of technology adoption and have developed customised content to address the pain points of micro-enterprises and accelerate digitisation amongst the target audience. The focus will be to provide appropriate solutions and handhold them to seek the benefit of Union and State governments’ various digital initiatives and schemes such as Udyam Portal, registration on GEM and online GST payments. Micro-enterprises will also be empowered with the learnings on how to take advantage of the benefits of digital platforms to enhance trade and business opportunities, learn about safety and security when conducting digital payments, and strengthen their business process and compliance through digital interventions. The project will be further implemented across India to enhance the digital journey of micro-enterprises “, said Shreekant Somany, Chairman, CII National MSME Council & CMD, Somany Ceramics Ltd

“It is a great opportunity to launch Digital Saksham in the State of Maharashtra. The changing requirement of businesses require new-age technologies, which enables entrepreneurs to think beyond limitations and explore new opportunities. The State of Maharashtra has always been a forerunner in industrial promotion and economic development with a special focus on empowering MSMEs. To ensure the maximum benefit, it is essential to reach the grassroot level and upskill micro-enterprises. If lessons about the new, digital world can be integrated into the local language, it eliminates many barriers and encourages micro-enterprises to adopt digital tools and futureproof their businesses”, Sudhir Mutalik, Chairman, CII Maharashtra State office.

Digital Saksham reaffirms Mastercard’s commitment to support SMEs’ business continuity and financial security. In 2020, the company had pledged INR 250 crores to help reboot Indian SMEs and enable business recovery. Also earlier this year, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth’s launched Strive, a global initiative designed to support the resilience and growth of millions of small businesses in an increasingly digital economy.

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Published on: Saturday, November 20, 2021, 05:10 PM IST