MSMEx, an EdTech platform that provides learning, mentoring, and networking to micro and small business owners, recently conducted a survey of 150 MSMEs across India and revealed that over 70% of MSMEs interviewed confirmed that the second wave had a debilitating effect on their business.
The survey also revealed that 50 percent of respondents said they are still recovering from the effects of both pandemic waves, that nearly 43 percent of MSMEs said they had to change their business model to survive the pandemic, and that when asked about the nature of the changes made in their businesses, 56 percent said they were forced to adopt digital for marketing and payments, while 38 percent said they focused on improving their customer service. 35 percent of respondents stated they needed outside financial assistance to support their enterprises, and 34% said they switched to a remote working paradigm.
When asked how government programmes and incentives helped them stay afloat during the pandemic? half of the respondents felt they were ineffective. Only 18% of those polled thought government programmes were beneficial. On the contrary, 42% of respondents stated they received financial assistance from friends and relatives.
Looking ahead, 42% of respondents said they need assistance with late customer payments, while 35% desired government assistance in the form of lower input costs. The importance of mental health and business coaching and mentorship for running a successful business is underscored by the fact that 36% of MSMEs polled sought help for dealing with mental stress induced by the unplanned interruption.
While the positive part of the survey was 11 % of respondents stated the pandemic had a beneficial impact on their business, 15% said their business was running better than before the epidemic.
According to Amit Kumar, CEO and Co-Founder of MSMEx, , “Our goal for this survey was to identify the breadth and depth of the pandemic’s second wave’s impact on India’s MSME sector, and how we could mitigate this impact and address their problems before another wave hits us. We are glad to see that the small businesses we surveyed have shown tremendous resilience and adaptability to survive. Our observation is that businesses with asset-light models, or those who altered their business models with ease to reduce the cash drain have successfully survived the lockdowns and the aftermath of Covid,”.