The Wadhwani Foundation (WF) today 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.
Wadhwani Foundation has committed INR 200 Crore and is 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:
- Business Stability program
- COVID-19 Skilling program
- Public Health Innovation program
The Foundation built all three Sahayata programs over the last 90 days. The rapid deployment will begin in August 2020.
“COVID-19 has created both a health and an economic crisis that is especially harming SMEs and jobs. Without proper credit and consulting support, the short- and long-term damage to the SME sector will be enormous. 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, stabilize, and ultimately grow into successful businesses and help save or create 100,000 jobs. All of the foundation’s own consultants, existing and new content and technology will be provided pro bono to SMEs.”Padma Shri Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, Founder and Chairman, Wadhwani Foundation
The Sahayata Business Stability program will provide up to 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.
Starting in August 2020, this Sahayata program will sign up 50 SMEs per month, increasing progressively to 500 SMEs per month.
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 program will launch in August with an initial goal of skilling 5,000 existing and new public health workers per month and increasing to 50,000 per month, ultimately serving 500,000 to one million existing and new health workers.
The Sahayata Public Health Innovation program will provide innovation grants or investments to up to 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.