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“Source: Livemint”
New Delhi: Walmart Inc. on Monday said it is rolling out a programme designed to work closely with 50,000 medium and small enterprises (MSME’s) across India to help them scale, build capacity, and perhaps be part of global supply chains.

The Walmart Vriddhi Supplier Development Program (Walmart Vriddhi) will also work to develop 25 institutes in India along with local organizations over the next five years.

“Walmart Vriddhi will actively work with India’s micro- small- and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) to expand domestic capabilities and participate in the global economy,” the company said on Monday. MSMEs will receive in-person training, as well as advice, access to Walmart’s deep global experience and a network of peers and mentors in their local communities.

In India, Walmart operates through the Best Price Modern Wholesale cash-and-carry stores, apart from its investment in online retailer Flipkart that now gives it access to India’s growing e-commerce market.

“Whether a supplier has ambitions domestically or to serve customers around the globe – they’ll have the tools they need to succeed through Walmart’s supply chain or through someone else’s,” said Judith McKenna, President and Chief Executive Officer of Walmart International, while addressing the media on Monday.

The retail giant did not share details of the companies that could participate in the program.

McKenna added that Walmart Vriddhi is an open platform designed not just exclusively for Walmart which implies that these MSMEs will be able to work as suppliers for other competing retailers in the market.

“We will build and expand Walmart Vriddhi so Indian suppliers have the knowledge and resources to truly take advantage of both domestic and global markets,” she added.

The company will open an institute in early 2020, and more over the next five years.

Creating Walmart Vriddhi institutes will directly train MSMEs and help them unlock access to customers both online and offline and give them the tools to reach domestic and international supply chains at Walmart or any other company, the retailer said in its press statement.

“This point is key – this is a pan-India initiative, and we believe it is also unique in its geographic spread which makes it open to many more businesses and entrepreneurs,” McKenna added.

The program can help these MSME’s potentially become a part of the supply chains of Flipkart, Walmart Global Sourcing and Walmart India, or those of other domestic and international companies, the company added.

India is a large sourcing market for Walmart globally. Over the years, the retailer, popular for its large big box retail store formats has sourced goods worth billions of dollars from the country, pushing India among the top 5 sourcing markets for the retailer globally.

To be sure, the announcement from Walmart comes when large foreign retailers including Walmart, and Amazon have been facing resistance from millions of small traders in India. The CAIT or Confederation of All India Traders, that represents scores of local mom and pop stores, has pleaded with the government to closely monitor the e-commerce market here after it complained that retailers such as Amazon, and Walmart-owned Flipkart have been indulging in predatory pricing, subverting investment rules here.

On Monday, CAIT said it strongly opposes the move of Nitin Gadkari-led MSME ministry’s move to join hands with Amazon and Flipkart for online sale of MSME goods. “Traders will bitterly oppose any such move,” Praveen Khandelwal, national secretary general, CAIT said.