On 28th of April 2012, AIMA organized the 3rd national MSME convention in Chennai in collaboration with Madras Management Association (MMA). Due to various reasons I had not attended a conference in sometime. The word MSME in the title attracted my attention since as an organization we provide a number of services to this sector. As an individual my interest in research and writing also happens to have MSMEs as a critical component. Hence I decided to devout an entire day to knowing more about the MSME sector in the country. The theme of the conference was “Building globally competitive MSMEs: The Way Forward”. Just like many of the other MMA programs this was also well organized and well conducted.
Mr.Rajiv Vastupal president AIMA, Dr. J S Juneja Chairman task force MSME AIMA, Dr H P Kumar Chairman and MD NSIC Ltd and Mr. M Narendra Chairman & MD IOB kicked off the program by giving us an overview of the intent of the convention. Following the inaugural session we had four interesting panels of speakers each one addressing a specific aspect which was critical to making MSMEs globally competitive. Mr. Subrahmanyam of IOB made a short but informative pitch from the banker’s perspective on availability of credit. His thoughts on availability of funding options were interesting.
Mr.Jayanta Chatterjee of ICRA gave an interesting view on ratings and its benefits to MSMEs. Mr.Sundara Raman of RAMCO spoke on the evolution of technology and how cloud computing is changing the way MSMEs may tap into the power of IT. Mr Suneet Singh Tuli CEO of Datawind Ltd gave a thought provoking presentation on innovative marketing. His thoughts on promotion and sales starting from his engineering fax machines to the latest Aakash Tablet was radical and truly out of the box.
Mr.Siva Kumar of Prabha Engineers spoke with immense confidence on his close to three decade success of starting and growing an enterprise. After Mr. Singh’s explosive talks I was wondering how the next speaker would capture the attention of the delegates, but Mr. Siva Kumar’s thoughts on people management simply blew the lid away. His examples on people management proved beyond doubt that little things done with concern can go a long way in knitting together a committed team, and solve the attrition problem.
A few success stories were also shared in the convention. The story of Mr. N K Chaudhary of Jaipur Rugs was extremely heart warming. His passion and genuineness could be both felt and heard. Mr. Suresh Srinivasan of Organic India, gave a quick peek into the organization’s purpose and products. Mr. P K Gupta of Cafe Buddy’s shared his start-up story and his initial experiences with creating low cost cafes. It was interesting and surprising to hear a talk on cost competitiveness from a banker. Mr. Sridharan of SIDBI gave interesting anecdotes which I am sure excited and gave insights to a number of us in the audience on how cost effectiveness can be achieved. Mr. Arumugam of NSIC provided useful information regarding the public procurement policy of the government. Dr. Juneja summed up the key takeaways at the end of the program
Some of the key statistics that I found very interesting about MSMEs are as listed below:
- MSMEs account for around 45% of manufacturing output, 95% of industrial units, and 40% of exports
- They Provide close to employment to 60 million people
- There are close to 26 Million units of which a mere 6 million are registered.
- They contribute close to 8% of GDP
- They register close to 12% annual growth
Personally belonging to this sector and servicing this sector, it was highly encouraging that MSMEs in India are thriving even in the midst of all the challenges (social, economic and political) that are being discussed and felt across many quarters. Though the regulatory climate in India with respect to business may not be very friendly the MSMEs prove the indomitable will of the individual entrepreneur. Though there were a number of deliberations on the policy changes required, how banks need to view credit products differently and how ecosystem support has to increase, it was also evident that MSMEs had to drastically make changes to their overall business practices, if they want to scale and grow out of the category.
I loved the conversations, speeches and question and answers. I came out of the convention pretty motivated and with some specific action points. I am sure this was one of those productive days well spent. This is one reason why I thought I would share these with you at the beginning of your week as well!