Overview on MSMEs

By Anjana Sundararajan

MSME stands for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises. It refers to businesses categorized based on their size and investment in plant and machinery or equipment. 

MSME Category

Turnover Limit (INR)

Micro Enterprises

Upto 5 crore

Small Enterprises

Upto 50 crore

Medium Enterprises

Upto 250 crore

Here’s a breakdown of what each component means:

Micro Enterprises:

They are small-scale businesses typically characterized by their limited number of employees, small capital investment, and modest revenue and profit margins. They often operate in niche markets and serve local communities. Micro enterprises play a crucial role in economic development, especially in emerging economies, by providing employment opportunities, fostering entrepreneurship, and contributing to the overall GDP. These businesses can include street vendors, independent contractors, small family-owned shops, and freelance professionals, among others. They are essential for driving innovation and sustaining local economies.

Some key characteristics include:

    1. Minimal Investment in Machinery and Equipment: Due to their small size, micro enterprises usually require minimal investment in machinery, equipment, and infrastructure. Many operate with basic tools and resources, keeping their initial costs low.
    2. Limited Turnover: Micro enterprises typically have modest turnover or revenue compared to larger businesses. Their sales volume may be relatively small, but they can still be profitable by serving niche markets efficiently.
    3. Owner-Operated or Family-Owned: Micro enterprises are often owner-operated, with the owner directly involved in day-to-day operations. In some cases, they may be family-owned businesses where multiple family members contribute to the business’s activities.
    4. Access to Finance Challenges: One of the significant challenges micro enterprises face is limited access to formal financial services, including credit, loans, and insurance. Many micro entrepreneurs rely on informal sources of finance or personal savings to start and sustain their businesses.
    5. Flexible and Adaptive: Micro enterprises are known for their flexibility and adaptability to changing market conditions. They can quickly respond to customer needs, modify their products or services, and adjust their operations to survive and thrive in dynamic environments.

Small Enterprises:

Small enterprises are larger than micro-enterprises but still relatively small in scale. They may have more employees and invest more in plant and machinery compared to micro-enterprises. Small businesses often operate in sectors like manufacturing, services, trade, and technology.

Small enterprises are vital contributors to economic growth and job creation. They often serve as the backbone of local economies, providing goods and services, creating employment opportunities, and fostering entrepreneurship. Small businesses can operate in various sectors, including retail, manufacturing, services, and technology. 

Governments and organizations often offer support and incentives to these enterprises to help them thrive, such as access to financing, business development programs, and regulatory assistance. Overall, small enterprises play a crucial role in driving innovation, promoting competition, and contributing to economic diversity and resilience.

Some key characteristics include:

  • Local Impact: Small enterprises often have a significant impact on their local communities. They create jobs, support local suppliers, and contribute to community development initiatives. Additionally, small businesses tend to have closer relationships with their customers, providing personalized services and fostering a sense of community engagement.
  • Innovation and Creativity: Small enterprises are often hubs of innovation and creativity. With fewer bureaucratic hurdles, they can experiment with new ideas and approaches, leading to the development of innovative products, services, and business models. This innovation can drive economic growth and competitiveness at both the local and national levels.
  • Challenges and Risks: Despite their many advantages, small enterprises also face unique challenges and risks. These may include limited access to financing, difficulty in competing with larger competitors, regulatory burdens, and vulnerability to economic downturns. Overcoming these challenges often requires resourcefulness, resilience, and strategic planning.
  • Globalization and Technology: In an increasingly globalized and digital economy, small enterprises can leverage technology to expand their reach and compete on a larger scale. E-commerce platforms, digital marketing, and remote work tools offer new opportunities for small businesses to access global markets and operate more efficiently.

Medium Enterprises:

Medium enterprises occupy a middle ground between small businesses and large corporations, characterized by a greater scale of operations than small enterprises but not as extensive as larger corporations. 

These enterprises typically have more employees, higher revenue, and greater capital investment compared to small businesses, allowing them to operate on a broader scale while still retaining some of the agility and flexibility of smaller organizations. 

Medium enterprises often play a vital role in driving economic growth, creating employment opportunities, and fostering innovation.

They may operate in various sectors, including manufacturing, services, technology, and retail. While they face challenges such as competition with larger firms and access to financing, medium enterprises also benefit from their ability to adapt quickly to market changes and innovate in response to customer needs. Overall, medium enterprises represent an important segment of the business landscape, contributing significantly to economic development and prosperity.

Some key characteristics include:

  1. Scale of OperationsMedium enterprises typically operate on a larger scale compared to small businesses but are not as extensive as large corporations. They have a moderate number of employees, higher revenue, and greater capital investment, allowing them to serve broader markets and undertake more substantial projects.
  2. Organizational StructureMedium enterprises often have a more complex organizational structure than small businesses, with multiple departments, specialized roles, and hierarchical levels. However, their structure tends to be less rigid and bureaucratic compared to large corporations, enabling them to maintain flexibility and responsiveness.
  3. Market PresenceMedium enterprises may have a regional, national, or even international market presence, depending on their industry and growth trajectory. They typically serve a larger customer base than small businesses but may still focus on specific niche markets or segments.
  4. Financial ResourcesMedium enterprises have access to more significant financial resources compared to operations, and withstand economic downturns more effectively. However, they may still face challenges in accessing financing compared to large corporations.

There are many MSMe schemes available in India.

We’ll talk about one of them below.

Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP)

The Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) is a flagship scheme by the Government of India aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and generating employment opportunities across the nation. It provides financial assistance, including subsidies and loans, to eligible entrepreneurs for establishing new micro-enterprises or expanding existing ones in both rural and urban areas.

It is implemented by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) at the national level and by State Khadi and Village Industries Boards (KVIBs) and District Industries Centres (DICs) at the state and district levels. It has been created to ensure continuous employment for both people in rural as well as urban environments.

Additionally, entrepreneurship development training is provided to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the necessary skills. The application process has been streamlined through an online portal, enhancing accessibility and transparency. Ultimately, PMEGP endeavours to promote self-employment, particularly in economically backward regions, thereby contributing to overall economic growth and development in India.

Key Features:

  1. Subsidy Structure: PMEGP offers subsidies on the project cost, varying based on the category of the entrepreneur and the location of the enterprise. Generally, the subsidy ranges from 15% to 35% of the project cost in urban areas and 25% to 35% in rural areas. For certain categories like women, SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities, ex-servicemen, and others, the subsidy can be higher.
  2. Interest Rates: The interest rates for the loans provided under PMEGP are typically lower compared to commercial rates, making it more accessible for entrepreneurs. The interest rates are usually fixed by the financing banks or institutions in accordance with the guidelines of the program.
  3. Sector Coverage: PMEGP supports a wide range of sectors including manufacturing, service, agro-based, food processing, handlooms, handicrafts, and others. This broad sectoral coverage enables entrepreneurs from various backgrounds and interests to benefit from the program.
  4. Training: PMEGP also provides entrepreneurship development training to aspiring entrepreneurs to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to run successful enterprises.
  5. Online Application: The application process for availing assistance under PMEGP has been made online for ease of access and transparency. Applicants can apply through the official PMEGP portal