Skills for 21st Century MSMEs:

Skills for 21st Century MSMEs: 


India’s Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) base is the largest in the world after China.

The sector provides a wide range of services and is engaged in the manufacturing of over 6,000 products – ranging from traditional to hi-tech items.

Given the government of India’s latest ‘Make in India’ push, along with a significant jump in the FDI flows, the Indian MSMEs sector is poised for rapid growth and integration with major global value chains.

As per the official estimates, there are about 63.05 million micro industries, 0.33 million small, and about 5,000 medium enterprises in the country.

The state of Uttar Pradesh has the largest number of estimated MSMEs with a share of 14.20 percent of the total MSMEs in the country. West Bengal comes as close second with a share of 14 percent, followed by Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra at eight percent. Source :


There are numerous challenges to the sector, and every enterprise is unique in its vulnerabilities. The biggest challenge is the rapid change in the external environment, driven by emerging technologies as well as global geo-political events such as the climate crisis or the most recent coronavirus pandemic. There is no ‘ panacea’ for the problems of any MSME enterprise, but possession of a suite of skills can help mitigate many problems. I have listed below 10 important skills which are mainly in the realm of emerging technologies. For real success, the leadership/ownership team will also have to be supplemented with human dispositions of risk taking, creativity, empathy, resilience…. and so on. 

There is a well known list from World Economic Forum  of the 10 most valuable skills for 2015 and then how they change for 2020:

The list of skills that I have listed are more basic, and relevant to our context, where we are still in the process of transformation to a ‘ digital India’.  Not everyone must acquire or master all these, but all should be ready to learn them should the need or opportunity arise.

1: Office automation and productivity skills 

2: Web and Internet skills

3: Social Media Skills

4: Safety/ security/ password skills 

5: Digital Media marketing skills

6: IoT awareness and understanding 

7: 3-D printing

8: Augmented Reality

9: AI related skills: RPA, data, voice, vision

10: Search and research skills 

Goals :

The most important and critical ability for success in the foreseeable future is the ability to learn by oneself, to become an autonomous learner with enhanced learning power. 

1: Learning how to learn ( launch a learning community for MSMEs) 

2: Building a financial safety net ( both personal and for the business) 

3: Enhancing customer base ( deploying digital marketing skills) 

4: Increasing customer satisfaction ( using AI and other technologies for personalisation, and ameliorating any deficiencies in customer experiences) 

5: Innovation and continuous improvement ( disruptive innovation as well) 

MAYA : the 4 letter code for selling anything :

Most advanced yet acceptable

Please feel free to get in touch with me electronically. 

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About mmpant

Prof. M.M.Pant has a Ph.D in Computational Physics, along with a Professional Law Degree, and has been a practitioner in the fields of Law, IT enabled education and IT implementation. Drawing upon his experience in world class international institutions and having taught in various modes of Face-to-Face, Distance Learning and Technology Enhanced Training, Prof. Pant is now exploring the nature of institutions which will be successors to the IITs, which represented the 1960s, IIMs, which represented the 1970 and Open Universities which were the rage of 1980s & 90s. He believes that the convergence between various media and technologies would fundamentally alter the way learning would be created, packaged, and delivered to learners. His current activities are all directed toward actual implementation of these new age educational initiatives that transform education in the post Internet post WTO era.. Prof. Pant, has been a Former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and has been on the faculty of IIT – Kanpur (the premier Engineering institution in India), MLNR Engineering College and Faculty & Visiting Professor - University of Western Ontario-Canada. He has been visiting scientist to research centers in Italy, England, Germany & Sweden and has delivered international lectures with about 80 papers published. During his association of almost 15 years with the IGNOU, Prof. Pant has served as the Director Computing and has been the Member of All Bodies (i.e. School boards, Academic council, Planning board, Finance committee and the Board of management). With his interest in Law, backed with practice of Law in a High Court, and his basic training in Science and IT, Prof. Pant has been particularly interested in the Cyber Law, Patent & trade mark issues, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues etc. and has been involved with many activities, conferences on “Law & IT” Prof. Pant is presently; • Advisor to Media Lab Asia - Chairman of working group on ICT for Education, chairman of PRSG handling projects on ICT for education. • Lead Consultant for an ADB funded project for ICT in Basic Education in Uzbekistan • Member of the drafting Group for India’s National Policy on ICT in education • Chairman of the group creating books for class 11 and 12 students on ‘Computers and Communication Technology’ appointed by the NCERT • Preparing a ‘Theme Paper” for the NCTE in the area of ICT and Teacher Training • Advisor and mentor to several leading Indian and Multi-national Companies in the area of education. Prof. Pant has in the recent past been ; • Member – Board of Management – I I T, Delhi for 6 years (two consecutive terms) • One-man committee to create the Project Report & Legislation for Delhi IT-enabled Open University • Advisor to the Delhi Government on Asian Network of Major Cities Project (ANMC-21) distance learning project in association with Tokyo Metropolitan Government. • Chairman Board of Studies, All India Management Association With his mission to create and implement new business opportunities in the area of e-learning & learning facilitation, Prof. Pant has promoted Planet EDU Pvt. Ltd., as its Founder & Chairman, along with a team of highly experienced and skilled professionals from Education & Training, Operations, IT and Finance.
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