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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Technology and financial infrastructure primed to enhance opportunities for MSMEs

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In Short:

Experts at the MSME Growth Conclave highlighted how improved technology and financial infrastructure are helping micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) thrive in the global marketplace. They mentioned examples like ONDC, a government platform for eCommerce, and emphasized the shift towards cash-flow based lending. In another session, experts stressed the importance of integrating artificial intelligence into business for MSMEs to stay competitive.

The Rise of MSMEs in the Global Marketplace

The fusion of technology and improved financial infrastructure has paved the way for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to flourish and seize opportunities in the global market. This was a key takeaway from the MSME Growth Conclave organized by businessline to commemorate MSME Day.

Leveling the Playing Field

K Ganesh, a seasoned entrepreneur behind successful ventures like Big Basket and Protea Medical, highlighted how the business landscape has been democratized by the VUCA factor. This shift has put MSMEs on equal footing with industry giants. An example he cited was the ONDC platform, initiated by the government, which allows MSMEs to engage in e-commerce, previously dominated by larger players.

Improvements in Financial Infrastructure

During a panel discussion on finance, Sanjay Gupta from SIDBI emphasized the enhanced financial support for MSMEs following the government’s revised definition of the sector. SIDBI’s lending to MSMEs has quadrupled to Rs 4.5 lakh crore in the last few years. However, Gupta acknowledged that there is still a credit gap of around ₹25 lakh crore for MSMEs, a challenge that is gradually diminishing.

AI as a Game Changer

In a session discussing the role of artificial intelligence in driving MSME growth, experts stressed the importance of integrating AI into business operations. Siddesh Naik from IBM emphasized that technology is no longer optional but essential for survival. Companies like IBM and Zoho Corporation are actively providing AI services to MSMEs to enhance customer experience and optimize costs.

Tejas Goenka from Tally Solutions noted MSMEs’ readiness to embrace technology, while all experts highlighted the importance of data security measures to prevent any breaches.

Aid from AI

The session on ‘Leveraging AI to drive growth in MSMEs’ was moderated by businessline’s Bengaluru Chief of Bureau, Venkatesha Babu.

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