Walmart to help small businesses in Uttar Pradesh grow via new Vriddhi e-institute

Walmart launched a new Vriddhi e-institute on Thursday in Agra to provide small businesses in Uttar Pradesh access to skills and competencies to grow in a post-pandemic environment through online and offline channels such as Flipkart’s marketplace and Walmart’s international supply chain.

With the new e-institute, Walmart is expanding its Vriddhi Supplier Development Program towards empowering 50,000 MSMEs across India for growth. The programme offers MSMEs with specific training to leverage modern commerce and get ready for opportunities in Flipkart’s eCommerce marketplace, the supply chain of Flipkart Wholesale and Walmart’s global sourcing operations, as well as the open marketplace.

The Vriddhi e-Institute in Agra will partner with MSMEs from Uttar Pradesh through interactive learning and advanced competency-based training, offering personalised feedback and advice. Available in Hindi and English languages, the e-institute will focus on empowering skilled artisans and entrepreneurs to expand markets for Agra’s footwear manufacturing and stone carving sectors.

Speaking about the scale of MSMEs in UP, Sidharth Nath Singh, Cabinet Minister for MSME, Government of UP said that there are 9 million MSMEs in UP which account for almost 14.5% of India’s MSMEs. “We have 75 districts in UP. I hope you plan to reach out with this programme throughout the country. In UP alone, we can bring you the best of the 50,000 MSMEs that you are looking for,” he stated.

Delving on the One District One Product (ODOP) scheme, he added that Vriddhi would help traditional artisans and craftsmen revive their dying trades. “Almost 60-65% of UP’s population resides in rural areas. For the GDP to grow, we need to revive rural economic activities, and ODOP is a start in this direction. We are also providing the beneficiaries of the ODOP scheme with training through experts in India and abroad. We provide them with technology; and support them with branding and packaging,” Singh highlighted.

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Urging Walmart to look at more than 50,000 MSMEs that the programme targets, the minister suggested starting a pilot project that could help the retailer understand the ground difficulties.

Affirming Singh’s views, Leigh Hopkins, Executive Vice President, International Strategy, Development and Asia Region, Walmart International said that India is a priority market for Walmart. “Through Vriddhi, Walmart and Flipkart have committed to this effort and will train 50,000 MSMEs before the end of 2024. Small businesses of UP have the potential to overcome challenges. 300,000 sellers are already registered with Flipkart. 95% of them are MSMEs and they can reach more than 300 million registered users in India through ecommerce. As we accelerate Vriddhi this year, we expect to see even more MSMEs registering and selling through the Flipkart channels,” he said.

Elaborating on how India is now one of their top sourcing markets with annual exports worth about $3 billion, Hopkins said that they are now working to triple their exports of India-made goods to $10 billion a year by 2027. “We need high-quality producers from Uttar Pradesh and across the country to come onboard to help us meet this target,” he asserted.

Growing MSME businesses, Leigh added, create employment opportunities in local communities and puts them at the heart of Make in India and Digital India programs.

Developed by Walmart and Flipkart in partnership with Vriddhi knowledge manager Swasti, the Vriddhi training program is designed for MSMEs operating in a post-pandemic world of mobile-first digital commerce. It includes training and advice on key aspects of business management, commercial growth, customer-centric services, manufacturing best practices, responsible sourcing and more. Interactive virtual training experiences, one-on-one advisory sessions and other resources are accessed through a mobile app available on iOS and Android, in Hindi and English.

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Vriddhi will accelerate the rollout of e-institutes to other cities in India this year, providing training, mentoring and ecosystem support to help local MSMEs prepare for growth as part of the supply chains of Flipkart and Walmart or other channels.

At the same time, Flipkart and Walmart will continue to partner with Indian MSMEs, both through the Flipkart marketplace and Flipkart Wholesale ecosystem and through Walmart’s global sourcing operations. Flipkart also supports artisans and weavers through its Samarth program, with 750,000 skilled craftspeople now selling authentic arts and crafts online to a customer base of more than 300 million people.



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