India SME Forum to launch FIRST

The Forum will help small retailers adopt digital transformation and improve their business

India SME Forum (ISF), India’s largest non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation for small and medium businesses, announced that it will launch the Forum for Internet Retailers, Sellers, and Traders (FIRST) this month which is aimed at supporting the entry of wholesale and retail selling, both offline and online businesses which have recently been included in the definition of micro, small, and medium enterprises under the MSMED Act 2006 after the change notified on 2nd July 2021.

ISF serves as an ex-officio member of the Advisory committee constituted by the Government of India. It has pushed for the inclusion of wholesale and retail trade as activities eligible under the MSMED Act, with benefits restricted to priority sector lending, as of now. Working together with Indian policymakers, FIRST will aim to create a conducive policy ecosystem that will help remove the biggest obstacles which the retailers, sellers & traders are currently facing and enable them to expand their business online.

Mr. Vinod Kumar, President, India SME Forumsaid, “MSMEs form the backbone of our economy. With e-commerce widening the scope of business for the retail industry, we want to be the voice of MSMEs in India and help remove the barriers in digital commerce. We aim to foster the growth in the Indian retail and e-commerce industry, propose workable solutions to the legislators, and assist them in creating a better framework for retail and wholesale trade.”

ISF in association with FIRST organized the ‘Future Proofing Retail Summit’ on 30th August, 2022 at Ahmedabad, Gujarat and are set to extend the same in other cities such as Bengaluru, Indore, Delhi & Pune with an aim to make the retailers, sellers and traders aware of the opportunities available to future-proof their firm by restructuring outdated supply chains, managing inventory efficiently, reviewing pricing strategies, understanding finance and payment processes, and reinventing the physical shop for the digital era.

The summit witnessed participation from industry experts, traders, retailers, CXOs, and academicians, among others, and acted as a consultant to the state and central government, offering critical insights on the challenges faced by the seller community. The summit featured a consultative roundtable of the office bearers of over 80 trader and retailer organizations from Gujarat, which discussed on short term and long term asks from the state and central government in regards to the competition of online and offline retailers, taxes, cost of doing business, GST issues and benefits, among other issues.

ISF also announced the debut edition of “The Best Sellers of India Awards” in association with FIRST, aimed at identifying and recognizing innovative and successful leading and emerging retailers of India on a zonal basis, who have adopted the latest technologies, credit facilities and digital solutions to serve the interests of the consumers with best possible deals while recording growth and overcoming the challenges during the pandemic. Winners will be felicitated in the presence of union and state ministers, leaders and visionaries representing the retail industry in India. The nominations have already started on 5th August from across six South Indian states – Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Goa and will be open till 25th September.

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