Wadhwani Foundation commits Rs 200 crore to support SMEs, combat COVID-19
The Wadhwani Foundation (WF), a not-for-profit organisation, has announced the Sahayata Initiative to help distressed small and medium enterprises (SMEs) affected by the economic crisis and help improve COVID-19 knowledge and skills of public health workers.
Towards this end, WF has committed Rs 200 crore and is building an ecosystem of partners, including government ministries and agencies, banks, and consulting firms, to help operationalise this initiative which will begin in August, according to a release.
The Sahayata Initiative consists of three programmes: the Sahayata Business Stability programme, the Sahayata COVID-19 Skilling programme, and the Sahayata Public Health Innovation programme.
Wadhwani Foundation was founded in 2000 by Dr Romesh Wadhwani, a technology entrepreneur, with the primary mission of accelerating job creation in India and other emerging economies through large-scale initiatives in entrepreneurship, small business growth, innovation, and skilling.
WF Founder and Chairman Romesh Wadhwani said, “The Foundation’s large investment in Sahayata supplements the government’s massive stimulus package by providing 10,000 SMEs with consulting services that will help them survive, stabilise, and ultimately grow into successful businesses and help save or create 100,000 jobs.”
The Sahayata Business Stability Programme will provide up to 10,000 SMEs with business consulting, equipping them with the expertise necessary to survive, stabilise, and grow, the release said.
Wadhwani Foundation has signed partnerships with SIDBI, Clix Capital, IIFL Finance, Power2SME, and Magma Fincorp to select the SMEs for this programme. It is also establishing an academy to train SME business consultants in Sahayata-specific best practices, content, and technology.
Th Sahayata programme 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 Rs 250 crore, Wadhwani Foundation will launch the next-generation, AI-powered self-service GENIE platform in mid-2021 to scale the programme to additional SMEs.
Besides, the Sahayata Public Health Innovation programme will provide innovation grants or investments to up to 50 startups and early-stage companies to help accelerate innovation in public health technology in India. Each award will be between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 1 crore.