MSMEs are the backbone of Indian economy. Aptly termed the ‘growth engine’ of the country, the segment boosts of a sizeable proportion of self-driven- entrepreneurs too. And among this section, new age entrepreneurs, belonging to SC/ST fraternity form a sizeable chunk.
Undoubtedly, along with MSME business owners, the development of SC/ST entrepreneurs is a must for meeting the objective of financial inclusion and generation of employment opportunities across the rural and urban areas of the country. Historically, this section has long been characterised by a lack of connect with mainstream businesses, resulting in far less number of business opportunities available to them.
Traditional pain points, such as – the unavailability of adequate and timely credit facility, a high cost of credit, lack of training in latest business know-how, inadequate and research and innovations, insufficient training and skill development, have long been this domain’s key bottlenecks, throttling its growth.
Aimed at addressing the financial woes of the SC /ST entrepreneurs, to enhance their capacity building measures and make them aware of various funding opportunities and various steps taken by the Government and other stakeholders, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with the Ministry of MSME is co-organizing the Regional Conference on MSME Financing for SC/ST Entrepreneurs.
In partnership with NSIC and the National SCST Hub- Ministry of MSME, the conference would delve on the theme of Accelerating Economic Growth through financial inclusion for SC/ST Entrepreneurs-Road Ahead. The event scheduled to take place on February 12, 2019 at Ambedkar Bhawan ( New Delhi), is aimed to serve as a platform to create an enriching platform for sharing of information and ideas on various aspects pertaining to the SC/ST entrepreneurs.
This will be done by bringing together the relevant Government officials, regulatory authorities, financial institutions, insurance agencies and other subject matter experts as well as SC/ST entrepreneurs from across sectors and geographies. As part of the initiative, several finance related issues concerning SC/ST business fraternity will be deliberated through the means of presentations, panel discussions, networking and interactive sessions at the conference.
The conference is in sync with the Government of India’s effort to not only address the specific concerns of the SC/ST entrepreneurs, but to bring them into the mainstream fold, thereby, create an enabling environ for them, and strengthen their connect with the larger, pan India entrepreneurial ecosystem.
To actualise this, the Government of India, through the Ministry of MSME, has introduced many specially formulated, SC/ST-targeted schemes. Among them, noteworthy is the establishment of the National SC/ST Hub – through which a number of SC-ST specific schemes are now being made available. The unique Digital Hub is focused upon both increasing the market access and ensure higher participation of SC/ST entrepreneurs in public procurement and to promote the creation of new SC/ST enterprises.
The National SC/ST Hub is also mandated to provide professional support to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Entrepreneurs and to help them adopt applicable business practices and leverage the PM Modi’s flagship, entrepreneurial- focussed Stand-Up India initiative. Considering its multifaceted mandate, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, has made an initial allocation of Rs. 490 Crore for the period 2016-2020 for the National SC/ST Hub.
The notable schemes currently being facilitated through the digital platform, include: Single Point Registration Scheme, Special Marketing Assistance Scheme, Bank Loan Processing Reimbursement Scheme, Bank Guarantee Charges Reimbursement Scheme, Export Promotion Council Membership Reimbursement Scheme, Capacity Building Management Fee Reimbursement Scheme, among others.
For the benefit of all SC/ST entrepreneurs, another important scheme worth mentioning is the Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes, under which companies having at least 60% stakeholdings by Scheduled Castes entrepreneurs are considered eligible for the grant under this scheme.