Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday launched ‘MSME Prerana’, an online business mentoring programme for MSMEs by state-run Indian Bank. The programme, to be made available in local languages, is aimed at empowering entrepreneurs through skill development and capacity building workshops, the bank said in a release.
“Indian Bank has taken an out-of-the-box initiative in launching MSME Prerana which will handhold the entrepreneurs through a mentoring program. This novel initiative shall further inspire others in the banking sector to adopt similar measures,” Sitharaman said.
The initiative was launched by the finance minister at the bank’s corporate centre in Chennai. Financial Services Secretary Debashish Panda, who also participated in the launch event through video conferencing, delved on the various initiatives taken by the government to support MSMEs. The initiative is in collaboration with Poornatha & Co, a firm that designs entrepreneurial development programs in vernacular languages using online web-based interactive sessions and case studies, the bank said.
The lender’s Managing Director and CEO Padmaja Chunduru said during its outreach programs, webinars and interaction with the bank’s MSME units, one main takeaway was that there is still a lot of dependence on chartered accountants or agents to access bank loans.
The barriers these MSMEs face include language, confusion about what the bank looks for when they approach for loans, how to manage cash flows, which government schemes are available and suitable for them and how to register themselves for these schemes, she said. “MSME Prerana is our effort to bridge this gap in the skill sets. It is a business mentoring program that gives inputs in simple terms (no jargon) and in the local vernacular,” Chunduru said.
The first two programs will be in Tamil for the Coimbatore clusters of Indian Bank. It will then be scaled up across the country in Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and Gujarati, the statement said. Spread over 12 sessions, the program enables 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, the bank said.
While the sessions on managerial and financial skills will be conducted by Poornatha & Co, the banking related topics will be handled by 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), USA, the release said.