The Grand Finale of the Thinkers of Tomorrow, presented by Symphony

Symphony Ltd. in association with the News18 network, awarded MSMEs who are working tirelessly to foster a culture of sustainability, inclusion, and employee care at the grand finale hosted in Delhi on 20th April 2023 in the presence of Policymakers & Industry stalwarts.

Sustainability has gained significance globally in recent years, causing governments to take concrete steps to encourage MSMEs to adopt quality standards and processes.  Building on the premise of sustainability, Symphony Ltd., in association with the News18 network, has launched Thinkers of Tomorrow.  This unique initiative recognises the innovative efforts of MSMEs to adopt sustainable business practices.  The campaign received an overwhelming response, with over 2,000 entries.  Zonal winners were shortlisted from the north, south, east, and west, who then went on to compete for the grand finale, adjudged by an illustrious jury and facilitated by EY.

The finale award ceremony commenced with a welcome address by Anuj Arora, CMO, Symphony Ltd., who spoke about extreme weather conditions playing havoc on productivity and costing India 5% of its GDP.

He reported an alarming loss of nearly 160 billion potential labour hours as a result of these adverse conditions. He stressed the need to take serious cognizance of investing in ESG and its correlation to profitability.

His address was followed by a keynote by Shri B.B Swain, Secretary, Ministry of MSME, GOI, who, quoting an economic survey, shared how the GST collections from MSMEs in the current financial year are higher in comparison to the pre-pandemic years. He further stated, “As many as 14.6 lakh MSME accounts were saved from becoming NPAs during the launch of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme”.

Mughda Kalra from the network engaged in an insightful panel discussion on Navigating the New World Order and Building a New India. Panelists comprised Vishwachetan Nadamani, COO, Ecom Express; Ashok Saigal, MD, Frontier Technologies, & Co-Chair, CII’s National MSME Council; Dinesh Gulati, COO, IndiaMART; Vinod Sharma, MD, Deki Electronics Ltd.; and Amit Kumar Group CEO & Executive Director, Symphony Limited.

Addressing the unfortunate credit gap that paralyses most MSMEs, Dinesh spoke about the lack of a formal structure among MSMEs, which prevents them from taking advantage of various government schemes and financial aid. He said, “Almost 85% of businesses are informal; they don’t have any structured balance sheets; they don’t have any structured credit payment systems; they don’t monitor how the accounts work, and that’s where they lose out”. On the other hand, commenting on the regulatory framework that challenges MSMEs, Ashok stated how the government is proactively taking steps to weed out the apprehensions amongst most MSMEs. He added that there is a 59-minute loan scheme at public sector banks; all one requires is a PAN card and GST return to avail of this service.

Busting the myth that ESG is not linked to profitability, Vishwachetan said that awareness is important, and secondly, he explained that it is easier to embed the principles of ESG in a smaller organisational setup as compared to a large organisational setup. Speaking proudly about Deki’s contribution to the energy efficiency revolution, Vinod explained how their company scaled up over the years in a zero-duty environment. He said, “Every single capacitor we sell is technically benchmarked with the best in Japan, reliably benchmarked with the best in Germany, and price-wise, it is benchmarked with the best or the cheapest in China”.

Concluding on an introspective note, Amit pointed out the gap between the decisions made in air-conditioned corporate offices and their actual translation on the field.  The discussion was followed by the award ceremony.

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