‘India's SMEs need proper attention and reforms’ | SupportBiz

Managing Growth

‘India's SMEs need proper attention and reforms’

The Indian Merchant’s Chamber (IMC) is one of the oldest industry associations in the country. It was Founded in 1907, representing Indian businesses in the ‘Swadeshi Movement’. SMEs are one of the core focusses for IMC. The chamber is actively working towards enabling SMEs grow more.

Speaking to SupportBiz.com, Deepak Doshi, Chairman of the MSME Committee, IMC said, “SMEs in India are making significant contributions to the nation’s growth and hence they deserve significant attention from policy makers.” Excerpts from the interview:

What do India’s SMEs need to scale their businesses and grow? 

SMEs in the country need attention and reforms. The government has realized the potential of the SME segment. Macro financial experts believe that countries like India will be saved from global financial downturn with a growing and prospering SME segment. This is said because Indian SMEs do no rely on foreign money, they are self-sustained businesses.

Although schemes and incentive programs are drafted, a lot has to be done about the implementation of these schemes and programs. Availability of funds is a challenge for entrepreneurs, despite the fact that India has several financial schemes from government agencies and the banking sector. This gap has to be reduced. Monitoring the implementation of  schemes is the need of the hour.

What is the biggest challenge for India’s SMEs today?  

Management is the biggest challenge for SMEs. There is no proper focus on building better business processes. Management consulting companies like McKinsey, Frost & Sullivan, KPMG and others must focus on SMEs as well.

On the other hand, entrepreneurs running small to midsize companies have to be more alert when it comes to tapping newer opportunities. They must be ready to adopt newer processes and innovative technologies.

Do SMEs need special attention?

India’s SMEs needed to be tackled differently. Any organization which is targeting SMEs must understand the unique market dynamics of this segment and their unique challenges. There must be a customised market approach for SMEs. For example, SAP has now started targeting SMEs in a focussed way. They have designed their product uniquely for SMEs.

What is IMC doing for SMEs?

SMEs are an integral part of IMC. We have more than 3000 members and we have approximately 220 industry associations. We cover approximately two million SMEs across the country.

We are actively working towards building a collaborative environment for SMEs. The chamber hosts seminars, networking sessions and panel discussion, providing a platform for industry voices to be heard, as well as enable knowledge sharing.

We have devised a plan to address SMEs’ challenges through an initiative called - SME Clinic. This will be an event in which we bring five experts from different areas like finance, marketing, HR or fund raising. SMEs can discuss their issues and challenges with the experts at the event. The event includes a group discussion and exclusive interactions with experts.

Financial management is a key focus area for IMC. What are the latest trends in this space?

Indian SMEs must be made aware of the different means and methods of financial management and fund raising.

For instance, both BSE and NSE have floated SME Exchanges and entrepreneurs should be educated about the same. New concepts of fund raising, like crowd funding or crowd sourcing should be discussed.

What is the way forward for India's SMEs? 

SMEs should explore newer possibilities in business. Indian SMEs should explore global avenues for growth. Segments like food processing, drug development and Pharma R&D are action packed segments and these segments can be explored.

Adoption of technology and building standardised processes is important these days. Most SMEs were family run businesses. The second and third generation of business leaders should be equipped with the latest knowledge to grow their businesses.