FM Sitharaman Launches ‘MSME Prerana’, A Business Mentoring Programme for Entrepreneurs

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 in the local language. MSME Prerana is a first of its kind initiative by a Bank in the country for the MSME sector. 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. He also emphasized on the various initiatives taken by government to support MSMEs and lauded the efforts of Indian Bank in launching a unique initiative in MSME Prerana. He also exhorted the bank and other financial institutions to reach out to new-to-credit customers and associate with fintech players to accelerate the credit flow.

Hon’ble Union Minister of Finance, Nirmala Sitharaman appreciated the fact that the amalgamation process of Allahabad Bank into Indian Bank did not distract the Bank from the care for customers. The Finance Minister complimented the Bank’s leadership and management for this unique initiative. “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,” said Sitharaman.

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. 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,” stated Padmaja Chunduru.

Spread over 12 sessions, ‘MSME Prerana’ program enables MSME entrepreneurs to acquire expertise in handling Finance and Managerial skills, capacity to handle crises in business, understand the dynamics credit rating and risk management. 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 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 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”, said the bank.

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