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Current State of the Sector and Future Needs
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Indian SMEs generate 11% of country’s GDP and 45% of entire manufacturing output creating more than 100 million employment opportunities in the process. These SMEs not only act as key supporting units for large firms but also help in expanding industry coverage in rural areas. Hence it would not be wrong to identify SMEs as the backbone of our economy. However despite that fact SME sector has always been surrounded by challenges for its growth. Challenges have taken many forms over the years such as weak marketing facilities, inadequate access to credit, lack of access to technology as well as complex regulations and procedures. plus over the last few years, as a part of further liberalization Indian market has been increasingly being opened to foreign players including foreign SMEs, which will sooner than later make the domestic market insufficient for both Indian and foreign SMEs as in order to sustain both would require more business. Hence it is quite apparent that dependency on domestic markets will be not be sufficient for Indian SMEs and they will have to go global just like their foreign counterparts who are exploring and expanding in the Indian market. Going global will not only help the Indian SMEs to expand their markets but will also prepare them for global competition which will improve their performance in the local market as well. While global expansion is need of the hour and most Indian SMEs should be doing the same, it is easier said than done. Despite Indian government’s strong impetus and push to Indian SMEs and exports, less than 1% of the entire 65mn Indian SMEs are part of global trade at the moment. Lack of knowledge in terms of overseas market scenarios and conducting global trade can be a big hurdle. Exploring an alien territory can be both risky and expensive plus gaining knowledge beforehand is an equally lengthy and expensive process. Insufficient information on potential business opportunities can lead to a high opportunity cost of choosing the wrong target thereby affecting the cost and confidence of the firm. Similarly lack of access to global trade resources to facilitate end to end deals can dent a SMEs budget substantially. Hence although global expansion is an attractive proposition it is equally risky as well if done without proper preparation.Considering both ends of the spectrum which ways should the Indian SMEs progress. What kind of hurdles and opportunities await them on either ways and what should be the ideal approach and decision?
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