The recent awards ceremony in Mumbai lauded 19 SMEs from 16 cities.
Date: January 16, 2020
Venue: National Stock Exchange (NSE), Mumbai
Organiser: Industrial Products Finder (IPF)
In its 48th year, IPF, India’s largest circulated industrial magazine, hosted its 4th IPF Industrial Excellence Awards in Mumbai during which 19 SMEs from 16 Indian cities were honoured for their achievements during the year.
The 2020 edition of the awards was held in the presence of Guest of Honour Naseem Sharifi, Consul General of Afghanistan; Bhavesh Thakkar, Partner (Tax and Regulatory), Ernst and Young LLP; and Rachana Bhusari, Vice President-SMEs, National Stock Exchange of India (NSE).
Every year, the awards are presented in two categories: ‘Fastest Growing Manufacturing Companies’ (under Rs.5 billion turnover) and ‘Innovative Products’. This year, in addition to these, IPF presented awards in two new categories – 'Promising Start-Up of the Year’ and ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ (Female and Male) – to recognise and appreciate the contribution of start-ups and entrepreneurs to job creation and economic growth.
Mohini Kelkar, Managing Director, Grind Master Group, was named IPF Female Entrepreneur of the Year, while Jignesh Raval, Managing Director, Sintercom, was IPF Male Entrepreneur of the Year. The winners were selected by a jury panel comprising eminent personalities from the industry and engineering institutes.
Congratulating the winners, Guest of Honour Naseem Sharifi said, “India and Afghanistan have strong bilateral relations for decades and India has been an active trading partner. Currently, India’s exports to Afghanistan amount to about $700 million and Afghan exports to India have increased by 60 per cent. We respect India’s love for our products like saffron. With bilateral trade, India is rebuilding Afghanistan.”
Highlighting areas where SMEs can empower themselves, Pratap Padode, Founder & President, Foundation of Infrastructure Research Studies Training (FIRST), said, “SMEs being the backbone of the Indian economy will always strive to think: ‘What can I do apart from what I do?’ Just 1 per cent of SMEs today with business below Rs.2.5 billion are filing their yearly returns. If they increase, tax collection increases. Higher tax collection will result in more schemes and more schemes will help SMEs grow.” He went on to add that availing credit facility, use of inferior technology and access to the right marketplaces for their products are some major challenges to SME growth in India.
ECGC was the Associate Partner of the event, while NSE and CARE Ratings were the Exchange Partner and Knowledge Partner, respectively. Besides, leading industry associations like Plastics Machinery Manufacturers Association of India (PMMAI), Pimpri-Chinchwad Plastic Association (PCPA), MAIT (Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology), MRO Association of India and Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM) extended their support to the event.
Coping with challenges
IPF also hosted a highly engaging ‘CEO Forum’ panel discussion on the theme ‘Essential Survival Strategies for SMEs’.
The panel discussion was moderated by Saikat Roy, Director & Head-SME, CARE Ratings.
The panellists – including Rachana Bhusari; Mohini Kelkar; Nitin Pangam, CEO, Maeflower Consulting; Vijayanand Choudhury, Global Head Procurement, Tata Technologies; and Neeti Sharma, Senior Vice President, TeamLease Services – discussed some imminent challenges before SMEs and strategies to thrive in challenging market conditions.
In his opening remark, Roy said, “Industry is going through a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) phase where market conditions are unstable. The government has come up with a bunch of projects but the ground reality differs.” Bhusari recommended that SMEs should start considering IPOs for meeting their funding needs, pointing out, “There is a dedicated MSME platform at NSE, which helps connect investors and MSMEs.”
In Kelkar’s words, “Today, one of the major manufacturing industries, automobiles, has suffered a slowdown affecting many businesses. But a business should take much-needed learning from such situations and move ahead.” According to Sharma, “SMEs shall realise that all repetitive jobs will soon be replaced by machine automation. This will create a need for niche skillsets, making training and education unavoidable. Thus, investing in your workforce today will serve better fruits in future.”
“If an SME exports, it comes under government preview by default,” observed Pangam. “Thus, such an effort will bring more tax collection, and so on.” For his part, Choudhury expressed that Indian SMEs are busy supplying products invented years ago. “In order for SMEs to grow, a change in mindset to think out of the box will do good in the long run,” he underlined.
Key to success
In his keynote address, Bhavesh Thakkar enlightened the audience about incentives available in India for SMEs and how to avail these. “Unawareness about incentive policies and a lengthy and cumbersome process are holding back SMEs from opting government schemes,” he iterated. “Various benefits like set-offs, claims or savings on import duty can be availed under these schemes.”
Thakkar drew everyone’s attention to the Manufacture and Other Operations in Warehouse Regulations 2019 (MOOWR), which came into place last year. He explained, “MOOWR 2019 is a revolutionary regulation, giving authority to use to the owner of any warehoused goods to carry on any manufacturing or other operations in a warehouse, subject to permission of the principal commissioner/commissioner of customs and various conditions thereon.”