No nation small or large has flourished without the support of Small and medium enterprises. Large corporates, governments, policy makers and every individual in the society appreciate their support and incredible services. The scalability, niche-service offerings and specialist skill sets of the resource pool of SMEs help them complement and propel the production of large enterprises in a direct or indirect manner.  SMEs in India have a long-lasting history to cherish. The sector has been responsible to realise the dreams of many small-time entrepreneurs who otherwise will not be able to secure working capital, connect with the right stakeholders in the industry and operate on a meaner and leaner scale.

The value proposition of several SMEs make them an important driver of the business eco-system. SMEs have been able to capitalise on the opportunities in many of the unorganised industries which are not viable for huge corporates. For instance, in the case of rural areas it may not be possible for large corporates to offer their services (be it in any industry) unless there are immediate returns. SMEs who are already serving in those rural markets will be able to work in tandem with the corporate organisation and offer the service thereby benefiting consumers, corporate and even the unemployed locals who may secure jobs by assisting the SMEs in delivering additional services to the public.

Small and medium enterprises have been a significant contributor to the national economy of India. The phenomenal expansion of SME sector in the country has been directly responsible to boost production and manufacturing activities. The untapped potential of the segment can be realised if SMEs have sufficient access to credit, technological advancements in e-commerce and mobile commerce, policies on subsidies, tax advantages and industry-friendly measures of the government. SMEs have to be empowered to increase the scale of their operations, improve operational efficiencies and offer smarter solutions to their customers and be well-versed with reforms for their sector, announced by the government.

SMEs directly contribute to 60 % of the output of the private sector in the country, according to a data published in a news report. Another report published by KPMG claims that 51 million small business enterprises account for one third of the national GDP. The future looks more promising for SMEs as ‘Make in India’ programmes are channelled to fuel the manufacturing activities, one of the key businesses of SMEs.

With India’s rising prominence among emerging economies, there are also increasing FDI investments in India as the governments of several nations are keen to encourage and establish their SME in India to leverage on the conducive business atmosphere. A case in point is Make in India Mittelstand (MIIM), an initiative by Indian embassy for German SMEs. This scheme has already attracted investment of 650 million Euros and 41 German SMEs are at the advanced stages of discussion for establishing their operations in India, according to a news report. Several millions of US dollars have been offset for taxes payable by SMEs, another impetus to the SME sector.

Despite the numerous growth and promising opportunities, there exists few bottlenecks to the growth and development of Small and Medium enterprises in the country. SMEs have to be guided on choosing the right applications and software programs and to be able to adapt to increasing technological demands of clients and also tech-driven taxation like GST, due for roll-out on July 1 this year.

SMEs are created to offer niche services and enhance the capability of huge corporates in services that are not the forte of the latter. There have been many a case of SMEs expanding to become large conglomerates and Fortune 500 organisations. It is pertinent to study the best practices of such organisations so that there is enough motivation for the sector to outshine their current performance levels and quadruple their existing contribution to the Indian economy.

‘The Economic Times presents SME Activator’ is a forum to discuss the contemporary trends and the pressing issues in SME industry. This conference will be an eclectic representation of various stakeholders servicing the industry. Senior representatives of SMEs, policy makers, bankers and NBFC’s who lend to SMEs, academicians, technology and taxation experts will share their viewpoints on the practical solutions for the SME sector in contributing to the larger objective of nation’s growth, improving the manufacturing output and being able to compete with peers in the overseas market.

  • Partners and Directors of SME companies
  • Executives from Banks and Financial Institutions lending to SMEs
  • Marketing and Finance Heads of SMEs
  • Business Heads of Organizations
  • IT and IT Enabled Service Providers of SMEs
  • Venture Capital and Private Equity Funds
  • Representatives of Government Agencies
  • Diplomats from consulates of other countries
  • Government Establishments and PSUs
  • SME institutes
  • Identify domestic business, import and export opportunities
  • Channelize finance, working capital, private equity and venture capital for SMEs
  • Interact with Investors, Bankers, Senior Executives of purchase Departments of Corporate and Government PSU