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SIDBI has a vision 2.0 for MSME well-being

The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), the nodal agency for the promotion and financing of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), has embarked on an ambitious makeover plan that includes the creation of a new advisory division, a sentiment index to gauge the MSME business mood and an intech platform to bring together borrowers and lenders.

Mohammad Mustafa, who took over as chairman at the end of August, said the agency's board had approved this vision 2.0 in a meeting on September 22, which had decided to strengthen the advisory services for MSMEs.
"We want to strengthen the advisory part, which is missing. Advisory would be in terms of technology, taxation issues and issues which a normal business encounters. We are calling it a credit plus approach. We will give a host of services that will empower you like capacity development, proper guidance, technology and other options," Mustafasaid.

On September 29, SIDBI posted a request for proposal document on its website seeking to appoint a consultant to formulate and implement a 'Business cum Developmental Strategy, Organizational Restructuring - SIDBI Vision-2.0.' The bids for the proposal are to be submitted by October 27.

"Once we lend money, SMEs make a produce and it has to be marketed. We will give them a complete picture of where and how it is to be marketed. We are looking for partners like agreements with specialised advisory services. These could be technology and consultancy firms," Mustafa said.

MSMEs are currently reeling under the twin impact of last year's demonetisation and the new goods and services tax regime (GST), which has disrupted business. However, Mustafa said the disruption is only short-term in nature.

SIDBI also has seven subsidiaries including a venture capital fund, a refinance agency and a technology services company dedicated to SMEs. This new advisory unit will most likely be within the company.
On the cards is also an index gauging the business sentiment for MSMEs. Last week, SIDBI also announced that it will broaden its fintech platform, Udyamimitra, to help MSMEs access loans from banks and NBFCs. Plans also include to partner with banks to reach more companies.

Last fiscal, SIDBI registered a 5% drop in net profit to Rs 1,120 crore from Rs 1,177 crore in March 2016, as operating expenses increased 27% and interest expended during the year increased 16%, but Mustafa said this year will be better.

"SME problems are transient and as things move they will benefit. Financing and money issues are there but we think we will be able to resolve these issues. We will have a better year than last year," he said.
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