India’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) now have the opportunity to embark on a digitally enhanced entrepreneurial journey through the Walmart Vriddhi Supplier Development Program. The journey features interactive online training experiences and personalized mentoring, with access to resources and experts to support growth. This supports the goals of Digital India by providing MSMEs with the tools to adopt new technologies to expand their business.
The Walmart Vriddhi Program was launched by Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) in December 2019 with the aim to empower 50,000 Indian MSMEs to “Make in India” for domestic and global supply chains. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, the program was reshaped to emphasize digital experiences, and this allowed it to be rolled out to more MSMEs. In the future, it will offer a mix of digital and in-person training, mentoring and network experiences via physical Vriddhi Institutes when conditions are favourable.
The e-institute-based Vriddhi Program provides MSMEs an easy-to-use interactive learning experience through online modules with a blend of teaching and assessment tools. Participants receive personalized feedback through virtual classrooms, formal assessments and one-on-one advisory sessions. To prepare MSMEs to sell through new online and offline channels in India and abroad, the program will also offer advanced training that includes personalized mentoring and the opportunity to work with service providers and peers.
The Vriddhi entrepreneurial journey equips MSMEs with tailored knowledge of key aspects of business management, enterprise growth, customer-centric services, manufacturing best practices, responsible sourcing and more. In response to the challenges brought about by COVID-19, it has been extended to reinforce the ability of MSME leaders to identify strategic issues, expedite digital adoption and increase efficiencies in their businesses.
Designed by Walmart in partnership with the program’s knowledge manager, Swasti, the curriculum is tailored to the business challenges and growth aspirations of MSMEs in the communities in which it is offered.
“Walmart Vriddhi opens up opportunities for MSMEs to sell into Walmart’s supply chains or the open marketplace. Wherever they are in their journey and whatever their aspirations for growth, that openness makes the program unique and puts the supplier at the center of everything we do,” Judith McKenna, president and CEO of Walmart International, said. “With today’s digital enhancements, we’re helping more entrepreneurs expand their capabilities and build sustainable businesses that add value to their communities.”
Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Chief Executive Officer, Flipkart Group added, “As India adjusts to the ‘new normal,’ digital transformation is a path to resilience for businesses. In concert with the government’s Digital India initiative, we want to help Indian MSMEs digitize so they can react to market trends and challenges with speed and agility, better serve their customers and grow their business. Flipkart and Walmart are working together on Vriddhi and other programs to make a real difference for MSMEs and to contribute to sustained economic growth for India.”
Walmart Vriddhi’s first all-digital e-institute will initially be open to MSMEs in Panipat, Sonipat, and Kundli, an area that is a hub of textile, steel and kitchenware production with a strong entrepreneurial heritage and a skilled workforce. Eligible MSMEs can access the digital training experience through a mobile application available on iOS and Android in both English and Hindi.
Vriddhi will progressively roll out e-institutes to other regions in India, providing tailored training, mentoring and ecosystem support.
“The need to work with India’s MSME sector and its workforce to enable holistic measures to support their growth and evolution has never been more pressing than it is today. The multi-level, online training approach that the Vriddhi Program affords is tailored to address the identified needs of the MSMEs and will help them build and adapt their businesses to serve domestic and global supply chains. This will fast track their growth and ensure longevity for their business,” Shiv Kumar, Co-founder and Chief Mentor, Swasti, said.
In recent months, Walmart has actively worked with its various MSME suppliers and Panipat-based businesses to help them cater to the rising demand for essential PPE and hygiene products. Flipkart Samarth has also helped local artisans, weavers and many rural & women entrepreneurs get back to business.
Drawing on the extensive eCommerce experience Walmart and Flipkart have in India, as well as in wholesale retail and sourcing for global markets, Swasti has extended advisory support to MSMEs on financial schemes, government programs and business operations, offering best practices for business realignment and continuity during these challenging times.