“To celebrate, stimulate and cultivate the spirit of entrepreneurship is our motto”
—Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, IndiaMart
What is the Makers of India campaign about?
IndiaMart has launched the Makers of India campaign to celebrate, stimulate and further cultivate the spirit of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) across India. As part of the campaign, we aim to create a platform that MSMEs could relate with and use as a destination where they could exchange ideas, promote businesses, and explore and discover new growth opportunities.
What does IndiaMart plan to achieve with this campaign?
The campaign is IndiaMart’s way of contributing to the growth of the MSMEs and hence to the country’s economy. We hope to create a platform that could further empower the enterprises and help prepare them better to tap into the new opportunities promised in the wake of the government’s flagship programs like Digital India and Make in India.
Why is something like this needed in a country like India?
SMEs are the backbone of India’s economy and are known to employ 45 percent of the industrial workforce while also contributing around 17 percent to the country’s GDP. Obviously, there is plenty of room for them to perform better and contribute a more proportionate share to the GDP. This could be achieved only if they become more organized and improve their efficiencies and productivity, say, by embracing new technologies and financial best practices. However, they often lack expert advisory or access to right set of information when they need it, and unfortunately there isn’t a single association, agency or platform that they could turn to.
So traditionally SMEs have resorted to ‘jugad’ approaches for meeting their information and advisory needs. However, as India enters a new digital era, businesses too need to embrace digital models and transform. They need to take a more structure and innovation-led approach to gain market intelligence and fresh customer insights. New best practices are being structured as the early-mover SMEs learn how to adapt and respond to changing customer needs. IndiaMart aims to develop the Maker’s India platform for knowledge and information sharing needs of MSMEs in this very context.
What are some of the key challenges that SMEs in India face?
SMEs are faced with a wide range of challenges. Even though they are seen as a backbone of the economy and the industry, there is no single unified platform to represent the entire spectrum of sector before the government.
Skill shortage is another key challenge. SMEs find it harder to retain talent, who are naturally attracted by bigger brands aka the large enterprises. While some forward-thinking SMEs do offer salaries that are comparable with the best in their respective markets, it may not be the best recourse for all, and certainly not always.
SMEs also find it relatively harder (than large enterprises) to secure loans at attractive rates. Similarly, attracting investments or funding from financial institutions or VCs is difficult.
This largely seems to be a tech-based campaign and solution. However, tech adoption is low among SMEs. How will you make this appealing to a wider audience?
While low tech adoption has been an issue historically, things have been changing very fast of late. A key catalyst of this change is the rapidly growing adoption of 3G, supported by that of smart phones. Moreover, a majority of MSMEs in India are owner or family-driven businesses and with the new generation entering the stage, tech adoption is getting further push.
The situation is expected to further improve going forward, thanks to the near-ubiquitous presence of 3G and 4G network rollouts also gathering momentum.
At the end of the campaign what do you plan to achieve?
The Makers of India campaign has been designed to enlighten and empower the MSMEs through our knowledge-based platform, so that they could pursue their goals and realize their dreams with optimum clarity. So in their success lies our achievement.