Chennai, October 7: ‘MSME Prerana’, an online business mentoring programme for MSMEs by state-run Indian Bank has been launched. The initiative was launched by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on October 6. The online programme will be made available in local languages and is aimed at empowering entrepreneurs through skill development and capacity building workshops. Sitharaman launched the initiative at the Indian Bank's corporate centre in Chennai.  During the launch, Sitharaman said Indian Bank has taken an out-of-the-box initiative in launching MSME Prerana which will handhold the entrepreneurs through a mentoring program.

The Finance Minister added saying that this novel initiative shall further inspire others in the banking sector to adopt similar measures. 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.

About ‘MSME Prerana’ Programme:

  1. The ‘MSME Prerana’ 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.
  2. 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 Bank statement said.
  3. 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.
  4. While the sessions on managerial and financial skills will be conducted by Poornatha & Co, the banking related topics will be handled by Indian Bank.
  5. 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.
  6. On successful completion of the online programme, all participants would get a certificate, issued jointly by Indian Bank, Poornatha & Co and MADE (Michigan Academy for Developing Entrepreneurs), USA.

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.

Chunduru added that 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.