Wadhwani Foundation Launches ‘Sahayata’ to Assist Businesses and Public Health Workers in Response to Covid-19 Crisis

The initiative will support 10,000 SMEs with business survival, stability, and growth consulting to help save or create upto 100,000 jobs; will skill 500K to 1 million Asha, Anganwadi, nurses’ aides and home-health workers using digital platforms.

The Wadhwani Foundation (WF) has announced the ‘Sahayata’ Initiative to help distressed small and medium enterprises (SMEs) affected by the economic crisis and public health workers improve COVID-19 knowledge and skills. The Wadhwani Foundation is a leading non-profit Foundation serving India and other developing countries with the mission of accelerating job creation through large scale initiatives in entrepreneurship, SME growth, and skilling.

The Foundation has committed INR 200 Crore andis building an ecosystem of partners, including government ministries and agencies, banks, and consulting firms, to help operationalize this large and complex initiative. The Sahayata Initiative consists of three programs: the ‘Sahayata Business Stability program’, the ‘Sahayata COVID-19 Skillingprogram’, and the ‘Sahayata Public Health Innovation program’. The Foundation builtall three Sahayata programs over the last 90 days. Rapid deployment will begin in August 2020.

Padma Shri Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, Founder and Chairman, Wadhwani Foundation, said, “COVID-19 has created both a health and an economic crisis that is harming SMEs and jobs. Without proper credit and consulting support, the short- and long-term damage to the SME sector will be enormous. TheFoundation’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, stabilize, and ultimately grow into successful businesses and help save or create 100,000 jobs.”

Sahayata Business Stability Program: SMEs are the core of every economy, but the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has severely damaged this growth driver of all emerging economies. SMEs are much less resilient and need both capital and expertise to survive now, stabilize in the near term, and position themselves for growth. While the Government of India recently established an extensive, vital credit program for SMEs, these SMEs also need help with strategy and operational best practices to address challenges with customers, broken supply chains, and disrupted processes such as management and employee retention.

The Sahayata Business Stability program will provide upto 10,000 SMEs with transformational business consulting equipping them with the expertise necessary to survive, stabilize, and grow.

Wadhwani Foundation has signed partnerships with SIDBI, Clix Capital, IIFL Finance, Power2SME, and Magma Fincorp to select the SMEs for this program, jointly. Wadhwani Foundation is expanding its internal team dedicated to this program to 100 SME business consultants. Additionally, the Foundation is planning to partner with KPMG, FlexingIt, GroCurv, Strategy Garage, Bada Business, VentureBean Consulting, The Catalyst, Imbibe Consultancy Services, Black Brix Services, KonektUp, CFOBridge, Midas CFO, Dhandabadhao.com, and several curated individual subject matter experts, advisors and mentors, to provide SME consultants to this Sahayata initiative, at pro bono or substantially discounted rates. This combined team of consultants will use the Foundation’s comprehensive and growing digital video library of business transformation and best practices content and the Foundation’s advanced technology platform for SME engagement. Wadhwani Foundation is also establishing an academy to train SME business consultants in Sahayata-specific best practices, content, and technology.

Arun. M. Kumar, Chairman, and CEO, KPMG in India, said,“We are pleased to put our shoulder to the wheel with Wadhwani Foundation’s Sahayata Initiative to help SMEs that have been severely impacted by COVID-19. We are proud to partner with the Foundation and Mr. Romesh Wadhwani in their visionary intervention to help this section of the industry that accounts for a disproportionate number of jobs and livelihoods.”

Sahayata COVID-19 Skilling Program: In addition to physicians and nurses at city hospitals and clinics, India’s public health infrastructure includes almost three million Asha and Anganwadi workers, home health workers, and nurses’ aides, as well as police and other volunteers. All are a crucial part of the public health response to COVID-19. However, most have limited access to needed knowledge to protect themselves and diagnose and care for COVID-19 patients. The Sahayata COVID-19 Skilling program provides essential information in an interactive video format through a variety of digital channels. Basic information on COVID-19 will be available on a dedicated YouTube channel. Additional information, including interactive Q&A and knowledge testing, will be provided via WhatsApp. Even more detailed skilling content and certification will be available on the Wadhwani Foundation’s digital platform/portal and throughother partnersand government portals, such as iGot.The program will launch in August.

Sahayata Public Health Innovation Program: The COVID-19 crisis has shown how unprepared countries are in dealing with a pandemic. Most countries underinvest in public health infrastructure,and this hobbles rapid response in a crisis. The Sahayata Public Health Innovation program will provide innovation grants or investments to upto 50 start-ups and early-stage companies to help accelerate innovation in public health technology in India. Each award will be between INR 25 lakhs to INR 1 Crore. The Wadhwani Foundation has already made several direct and indirect grants; the number of candidate companies for such grants and investments is growing rapidly.