94% of Tech MSMEs Embrace AI for Business Growth: Nasscom

94% of Tech MSMEs Embrace AI for Business Growth: Nasscom

Committed to empowering the tech MSMEs, Meta has entered into a strategic partnership with nasscom to spotlight the current state of AI Adoption journey of tech MSMEs in India. On occasion of World MSME Day, nasscom supported by Meta unveiled a white paper titled, ‘Empowering India’s Growth: Unlocking AI’s Potential for Tech-Enabled MSMEs’ that delves into key opportunities and challenges faced by tech MSMEs in adoption of AI in their business operations.

Aimed to promote AI awareness and capacity building for MSMEs, understand the challenges and potential solutions, and catalyze adoption of AI technologies to improve productivity and business growth, earlier this year, nasscom and Meta launched a ‘AI Enablement for MSMEs’ program for tech-enabled MSMEs in the country held across five cities - Gurugram, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai and Hyderabad – which saw more than 300 MSMEs attend based on whose inputs the white paper was crafted. A comprehensive sentiment analysis of the tech-enabled MSMEs was done to assess their level of awareness, and approach towards AI technologies. The analysis revealed a strong belief in the potential of AI among tech-enabled MSMEs where 94% of them acknowledged its ability to drive business growth and 87% of respondents were confident in its capacity to improve overall productivity.

Underlining the importance of AI for tech-enabled MSMEs, the Whitepaper identifies key areas where AI can catalyze their business growth. Specifically, 48% of respondents support AI’s potential in content creation and marketing, and 46% in customer engagement, followed by 68% in developing new products and services. Furthermore, with productivity being a cornerstone of business success, the white paper calls out AI as a transformative tool in streamlining processes, reducing operational inefficiencies, enhancing output quality, and maximizing profitability.

Sangeeta Gupta, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at nasscom said, “MSMEs, pivotal to India's economic engine, are at a critical point in today’s fast-evolving tech landscape. Integrating AI offers them a unique chance for unprecedented growth, increased productivity, and sustainable innovation. Ecosystem collaboration, coupled with access to user-friendly tools and resources, is essential for tech-enabled MSMEs to harness AI's full potential and for India to maximize its AI dividends.”

Said Sandhya Devanathan, Vice President (India) at Meta, “As the backbone of the Indian economy, empowering MSMEs with cutting edge business solutions is pivotal for the growth of the country. With its massive developer base and the third largest startup ecosystem in the world, India is going to be a driving force in the global AI revolution. Meta has been committed to creating an ecosystem for MSMEs to thrive, and  our joint efforts with nasscom focus on equipping MSMEs with the necessary tools and knowledge to unlock the full potential of AI.”

Said Nilaya Varma, CEO Primus Partners, who were the knowledge partner for the white paper, “We were amazed to experience first hand how aware MSMEs are of the power of AI. However, the study also uncovered a key impediment for the MSMEs to operationalize their knowledge - a lack of awareness of tools and resources to enable their AI journey was identified as a major challenge by 65% of these businesses.”

Alongside the opportunities, the white paper also identifies significant challenges faced by tech MSMEs in navigating the benefits of leveraging AI for a sustainable business expansion and growth. The paper called out an awareness gap with 65% of tech MSMEs struggling due to the limited awareness about available tools and resources, while 72% emphasized the necessity for AI training programs underlining the importance of skill development in facilitating adoption.

Additionally, financial constraints significantly hinder tech-enabled MSMEs from adopting AI technologies, with 59% of surveyed enterprises citing budgetary limitations as a barrier to investing in necessary tools and resources. An overwhelming 91% of these enterprises advocate for making AI technologies more democratically accessible, emphasizing the need for more inclusive and affordable AI solutions to level the playing field for smaller businesses. Further, nearly half (45%) of the surveyed enterprises highlighted the need for tailored use cases demonstrating AI's benefits across specific industries.

To address these and other challenges, the white paper recommends a MSME-first approach to help them reap the AI Dividend. The approach includes comprehensive actions to be taken by the industry and ecosystem. These actions include, among others, the creation of hyperlocal accelerator programs for tech-enabled MSMEs, financial support including grants & subsidies for technical training, skill development, peer learning programs and access to tools & resources that prioritizes ease of implementation and integration with existing business processes thereby reducing the technical barriers for adoption.

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