Money & Banking

FM launches Indian Bank’s business mentoring programme for MSMEs

Our Bureau. Chennai | Updated on October 06, 2020

Nirmala Sitharaman interacts with the women employees of Indian Bank before addressing a press conference in Chennai on Tuesday   -  PTI

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman   -  Bijoy Ghosh

Public sector lender Indian Bank has come out with ‘MSME Prerana’, an online Business Mentoring Programme for MSMEs. The bank says it is the first-of-its-kind initiative by a bank in the country for the (MSME) sector. .

The initiative was formally launched by Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, at the bank’s headquarters in Chennai on Tuesday.

To empower entrepreneurs

MSME Prerana is for empowering entrepreneurs through skill development and capacity building workshops in the local language. The programme is in collaboration with Poornatha & Co, a firm that designs Entrepreneurial Development Programmes in vernacular using online web-based interactive sessions and case studies, according to a statement.

Spread over 12 sessions, MSME Prerana programme aims to enable MSME entrepreneurs to acquire expertise in handling finance and managerial skills, capacity to handle crises in business, understand the dynamics of credit rating and risk management. While the sessions on managerial and financial skills will be handled by Poornatha & Co, banking-related topics will be handled by faculty from Indian Bank.

On successful completion, all participants would get a certificate, issued jointly by Indian Bank, Poornatha & Co and MADE (Michigan Academy for Developing Entrepreneurs), US.

“Indian Bank has taken an out-of-the-box initiative in launching MSME Prerana, which will handhold the entrepreneurs through a mentoring programme. This novel initiative shall further inspire others in the banking sector to adopt similar measures,” said Union Minister Sitharaman.

“During the outreach programmes, webinars and interaction with our MSME units, one main takeaway was that there is still a lot of dependence on Chartered Accountants or agents for these units to access bank loans and scale up their operations,” said Padmaja Chunduru, MD and CEO, Indian Bank.

She added that the barrier was language, it was the jargon, the confusion about what the bank looks for when they approach for loans, how to manage cash flows, which are the schemes of the government that are available and suitable to them, how to register themselves for these etc. “Many units were remaining in the micro or small sector, despite opportunities to scale up due to the apprehension about the tax burden,” she stated.

Inputs in simple terms

MSME Prerana is our effort to bridge this gap in the skill sets – it is a Business Mentoring Programme that gives inputs in simple terms (no jargon) and in the local vernacular. The objective is to equip the entrepreneurs with business skills as well as communication & HR.

The first two programmes will be in Tamil for the Coimbatore clusters of Indian Bank, then it will be scaled up across the country in Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and Gujarati and work is already underway for this.

Banks and other financial institutions should reach out to new-to-credit customers and associate with fintech players to accelerate the credit flow, said Debashish Panda, Secretary, Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, over a video conference.

Published on October 06, 2020

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