Dr Ajay Kela, President and CEO, Wadhwani Foundation speaks at the TiE Global Summit 2020

Bangalore: The MSME sector was already in a challenging situation due to the global economic crisis and was dealt with a debilitating blow when the pandemic arrived. However, SMEs have to keep faith and explore every single opportunity of economic revival.


Although capital infusion has come from the government as a stimulus package for the MSME sector, uncertainty around growth will continue to challenge MSMEs. Therefore, business consulting support to utilize the funds better, and survive and thrive assumes critical importance.


Expressing his views in a panel on ‘Turning the Small Businesses Around’ at the Tie Global Summit 2020, Dr Ajay Kela, President and CEO, Wadhwani Foundation said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made MSMEs vulnerable across multiple dimensions. They are simultaneously dealing with disruption in supply chains, access to markets, capacity utilization, talent retention, sinking employee motivation & morale, etc. The COVID-19 impact will last for another 18-24 months. Such dire circumstances call for MSMEs to remain resilient, be adaptive, seek help, and use the pandemic as an opportunity to innovate and embrace change. The Foundation, through the Wadhwani Sahayata program, has mobilized a large team of consultants and has built an ecosystem of partners, including government ministries, agencies, banks, and consulting firms, to help MSMEs survive, stabilize, and emerge victorious through this crisis.”


The situation demands small businesses to re-invent and re-strategize for prioritisation of survival over growth. To ensure liquidity and slow-down of the burn rate, the SMEs should plan for an 18-month runway, besides being able to meet the immediate challenges of statutory dues, wages and pressing creditors.


MSMEs need to look at new opportunities as a wide online-adoption culture opens up the global markets, global companies look for alternative supply-chains such as India, and a weaker rupee boosts price competitiveness. These opportunities will translate into a long-term positive impact on the economy and the sector, opening permanent doors to a broader market.