The Wadhwani Foundation (WF) today announced the Sahayata Initiative to help distressed small and medium enterprises (SMEs) affected by the economic crisis and public health workers improve COVID-19 knowledge and skills. The Wadhwani Foundation is a leading non-profit Foundation serving India and other developing countries with the mission of accelerating job creation through large scale initiatives in entrepreneurship, SME growth, and skilling.
Wadhwani Foundation has committed INR 200 Crore and is building an ecosystem of partners, including government ministries and agencies, banks, and consulting firms, to help operationalize this large and complex initiative. The Sahayata Initiative consists of three programs: the Sahayata Business Stability program, the Sahayata COVID-19 Skilling program, and the Sahayata Public Health Innovation program. The Foundation built all three Sahayata programs over the last 90 days. Rapid deployment will begin in August 2020.
Sahayata Business Stability Program: SMEs are the core of every economy, but the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has severely damaged this growth driver of all emerging economies. Larger companies generally have larger, more robust balance sheets, access to capital and management resources, and are more resilient. SMEs are much less resilient and need both capital and expertise to survive now, stabilize in the near term, and position themselves for growth. While the Government of India recently established an extensive, vital credit program for SMEs, these SMEs also need help with strategy and operational best practices to address challenges with customers, broken supply chains, and disrupted processes such as management and employee retention.
The Sahayata Business Stability program will provide up to 10,000 SMEs with transformational business consulting equipping them with the expertise necessary to survive, stabilize, and grow.
Starting in August 2020, this Sahayata program will sign up 50 SMEs per month, increasing progressively to 500 SMEs per month. After an initial high-touch engagement model supporting companies with revenue up to INR 250 crores, Wadhwani Foundation will launch the next-generation, AI-powered self-service GENIE platform in mid-2021 to scale the program to additional SMEs.