- Top players from industry brainstorm on driving SMEs business with cost-effective ICT solutions;
- More than 500 real SMEs participate in the conference;
- Chief Guest Shri Dinesh Rai, Hon'ble Secretary, Ministry of MSME, GoI announces Rs. 105 cr. worth ICT scheme;
- Sessions on B2B marketplaces, social media & classified portals, IT applications, mobile & email marketing take the limelight.
Now is the time of collaboration between the industry stalwarts for augmenting growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Indubitably depicting this, for the first time ever, the Internet and Mobile industry fraternity came together to provide much-needed impetus to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at the recently concluded Conference on 'Free for SMEs'. Jointly organized by IndiaMART.com and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, the much-acclaimed conference brought fierce competitors from different verticals on a common platform to voice their opinion, share their expertise and add value on how SMEs can leverage ICT tools, services and applications for their business growth. That is, the conference equipped the SMEs with information and knowledge of these applications which they were largely unaware of. The distinguished Chief Guest Shri Dinesh Rai, Honorable Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India also commended such an effort and announced an ICT scheme worth Rs. 105 crore for the MSMEs.
Complimenting the industry fraternity, the audience gathering was constituted by the real SMEs. As usually observed, actual SMEs are missing in action in conferences and seminars. However, the theme was so valuable and attractive that it was successful in mobilizing over 500 SMEs to attend and benefit from this unique convention.
No other platform than 'Free for SMEs' could achieve a feat of having intense competitors like IndiaMART.com, Tradeindia.com, Fibre2fashion.com, Sulekha and Yahoo! Small Business in one forum and discuss how SMEs could reap the benefits of B2B Marketplaces. Moderating the session, Mr. Namit Pandey, Head, Yahoo Small Business, Yahoo India said, “Internet today has become bigger than any other media viz. radio, TV or newspapers. Thus, the starting point for SMEs today is certainly to have web presence to reach out to their customers.” The unique session had further deliberation by Mr. Brijesh Agrawal, COO, IndiaMART.com who highlighted how SMEs can do wonders by using B2B Marketplaces easily and effectively. Breaking the myth of having to invest exorbitant amount of time to access B2B marketplaces, he stated, “SMEs lack willingness to access Internet. If they overcome this, all they require is 15 minutes to one hour of time in a day to effectively utilize the services of these online marketplaces and enhance their business prospects tremendously.” Echoing Mr. Agrawal's view, Mr. Bikky Khosla, CEO, Tradeindia.com, said, “SMEs need to be active on B2B marketplaces which offer cost-effective solutions for both marketing and sourcing.”
In addition, for the first time ever, the entire classified portals industry was together on one platform. The think tanks from InfoEdge, OLX, Asklaila.com, Quickr India, J9 Ventures successfully enabled a detailed understanding of leveraging their cost-effective services for brand building, promotions and engaging customers. While Mr. Amarjit Batra, OLX highlighted the worthiness of local classifieds and methods to utilize blogs and social networking sites like Facebook, Mr. Pranay Chulet, CEO, Quickr India termed the local classified portals as 'faster, better and cheaper' way of enhancing businesses. Believing in the tech-tonic shift in the way information is consumed, Mr. Amlan Mandal from Asklaila apprised everyone in the audience on evaluating what works better (social media) for business, segmentation of target group and timing of consumption.
An interactive platform, the one-of-a-kind conference also had panelists answering questions put forth by the engaged audience. To a question on what all aspects to be kept in mind while hiring SEO agencies, a panelist replied that objectives and deliverables are to be well-defined while understanding basics of SEO by oneself. Replying to another question on how to use social media for a B2B segment, another panelist said that companies can start groups around their area of expertise through which they can tap their target customers.
Proudly enriching the SME audience with low-cost or free ICT solutions, corporate giants like Microsoft, Google India, Intel South Asia ardently shared stage with upcoming business leaders like Luna Ergonomics. Addressing the session, Mr. Rajeev Karwal, Founder and CEO, Milagrow stated, “In order to remain competitive, SMEs need to use low-cost or free tools like Cloud Computing. Infact, lesser known softwares like Sugar CRM, Orange HRM and .proj are very helpful tools for managing businesses efficiently.” Moreover, Mr. Gautam Gandhi, Manager, New Business Development, Google India emphasized on importance on careful integration of online and offline activities by small businesses. Sharing an exciting new technology, Mr. Abhijit Bhattacharjee, CEO, Luna Ergonomics informed that with Panini Keypad users can type in any language and utilize it for different areas of their business like sales force automation and sending updates to customers in regional languages, among others.
The conference concluded with the forward-looking theme of cost-effective mobile and email marketing solutions for SME businesses where One97, Valuefirst, 160by2, Sprinklr jointly enlightened the esteemed audience with their knowledge. Describing email marketing as a high ROI solution, Mr. Manjunath K G, Co-founder & MD, Sprinklr said, “SMEs need to start building mailing lists and tracking visitors to their websites and getting back to them.” Lastly, Mr. Pankaj Agarwal, Head-Sales, Netcore Solutions explained how mobile marketing can be effectively used in a cost effective way. He added, “Mobile marketing tools like SMS-push/pull, games application, Voice-IVR or Voice-SMS, Mobile Internet-rich media, et al can be highly beneficial for SMEs.” Mr. Agarwal also ran an instant poll among the audience to know their feedback about Mobile Advertising. Over 90% SMSed stating Yes!
IndiaMART.com is India's largest online B2B marketplace connecting global buyers with suppliers through business directories, online product catalogs, buy-sell offers, industry specific marketplaces, printed media and trade shows participation.
Founded in 1996, the company has a pan-India presence in over 100 cities. With over 1500 employees located across 39 offices in the country, IndiaMART.com offers an extensive range of value-added products and services to its 700,000 registered members and nearly 5 million global buyers across various industries and verticals.
IndiaMART.com has won numerous awards over the years and has been widely covered by media such as CNBC, BBC, BusinessMoney, CNN, Businessworld, Economic Times, Financial Express, etc for its pioneering role in promoting SME business in the country. Its existing investors include Intel Capital and Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd (Times Group), India's largest print media group.