MSMEs to play crucial role in making India a startup hub: Kalraj Mishra

NEW DELHI: Micro, small and medium enterprises will play an important role in making India a hub for startups, Union Minister Kalraj Mishra said today.

At the inauguration ceremony of the MSME Expo at the India International Trade Fair here, Mishra said that quality manufacturing and inclusive growth of MSMEs plays a key role in the development of the country.

“Micro, small and medium Enterprises form a major part of manufacturing sector and give employment to a large number of people,” the MSME Minister said.

Mishra further said that the MSME Expo is a very good platform for the enterprises to showcase their products at national and international level.

Herbal products, food articles, cosmetics, handicraft, electronic appliances, auto components, readymade garments, gems & jewellery, among others are being displayed at the MSME Expo this year.


DIPP Proposes Collateral-Free Loans For Startups; Only Rs 1100 Cr Disbursed Via Rs 10k Cr Fund of Funds Till Now!

n June this year, Govt. of India had created a special Rs 10,000 crore worth fund of funds for Indian startups, which expected to generate 18 lakh jobs. Under this scheme, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) was empowered to allocate funds to various Alternate Investment Funds (AIF) registered under SEBI, which in turn would fund emerging startups in India.

In a recent event organized by World Economic Forum, Govt. has admitted that disbursement of funds via this special scheme has been slow as of now, as only 600 startups have been funded for a total amount of Rs 1100 crore, out of Rs 10,000 crore corpus.

Although Govt. plans to eventually provide Rs 50,000 crore via Fund of Funds scheme, the process of allocating funds to startups have been rather slow. Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) secretary Ramesh Abhishek has assured all investors and entrepreneurs that they are now fast-tracking the process, and more startups would be now funded via Fund of Funds route.

He said, “So far only Rs.1,100 crore has been disbursed. Our aim is to mobilize Rs.50,000 crore of private investment through this fund..”

Collateral-Free Loans For Startups

As part of fast tracking the process of disbursing venture capital for emerging startups, Ramesh informed that DIPP would soon launch a corpus of Rs 2000 crore, which would provide collateral-free loans to startups.

In fact, a proposal has already been sent to the cabinet to create a special ‘Credit Guarantee Scheme’ of Rs 2000 crore, which would empower banks and financial institutions to provide loans to startups without any collateral.

If approved, this can be a game-changing move for entrepreneurs in India, who are stuck at approvals because the current rules and regulations are strict in giving out loans for unestablished businesses. Startups needs money to expand, and banks/financial institutions provide loans only to established businesses with proven track record of generating revenues; and the vicious cycle continues.

Besides, Ramesh also informed that they have written to 100 companies to use their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to set up incubators which can groom and help startups in India.

Indian Entrepreneurs Share Their Ideas For Helping Startups

At the event, some of the most successful Indian entrepreneurs shared their ideas for improving startup eco-system in India and to groom future entrepreneurs.

Mahesh Murthy, managing partner of Seedfund, said that a shift in culture and mindset is required to provide better assistance for Indian startups. As per him, till now, Indian startups have been copying Western ideas, but now, we need to think out of the box.

He said, “Only now they are beginning to have original thoughts in this generation. It is culturally very difficult for us to be innovative,”

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder of Paytm, emphasized on ‘Make in India’ drive, as he said,

“Japanese built Honda, Toyota, Nissan when Germans and Americas had built their largest auto companies. We have to build products, built in India, made in India, made for India in Indian context. The world needs lower cost, higher scalable built out of countries like India..”

Ritesh Agarwal, Founder of Oyo Rooms said that laws related to startups and entrepreneurship needs to be changed if Govt. wants to truly help them. He said, “It is our responsibility as entrepreneurs to proactively go out and converse with the lawmakers and explain to them what the problems are..”


Digital startups will disrupt businesses: Study

According to the findings of a new global study done by Dell Technologies, 78% of businesses believe digital startups will pose a threat to their organization, either now or in the future, while almost half fear that they may become obsolete because of competition from these startups.

"India is considered among the most digitally mature economies today and credit to the Indian government and India Inc. on driving our country's digital transformation agenda," said Alok Ohrie, President & Managing Director, India Commercial, Dell EMC.
“India is considered among the most digitally mature economies today and credit to the Indian government and India Inc. on driving our country’s digital transformation agenda,” said Alok Ohrie, President & Managing Director, India Commercial, Dell EMC.

Further, 73% admitted that digital transformation could be more widespread throughout their organization while over half have experienced significant disruption in their industries over the past three years. The global study was conducted by Vanson Bourne across 4,000 business leaders across 16 countries and 12 industries, 300 from India.

“With a vibrant startup ecosystem, keen government focus on digitally transforming India, and a tech-enabled consumer base, it’s not surprising that Indian enterprises have sensed the urgency to transform digitally. While transformation is not pervasive, it is critical for organizations to follow the leaders and adopt practices that can enable them to ride the wave of the fourth Industrial Revolution. India has high potential to lead the world in digital transformation, and at Dell Technologies we are in a unique position to accelerate this progress,” said Rajesh Janey, president & managing director, India Enterprise, Dell EMC.

Specific to India, another complementary study by Greyhound Research found that nine out of ten companies had experienced disruption while 26% (compared to 48% globally) don’t know what their industry will look like in three years. Most enterprises in India who are digital leaders are being driven to this by customer demands, while 42% are feeling the pressure from their own C-suite. The executives surveyed said the biggest barriers to progress included immature digital culture (33%), and lack of right technologies to work at the speed of business (32%). Nearly half (43%) don’t measure their digital transformation success.

“India is considered among the most digitally mature economies today and credit to the Indian government and India Inc. on driving our country’s digital transformation agenda. Dell Technologies, will collaborate with customers, partners and consumers to drive human progress and create a technology enabled future. With a proactive government, digitally inspired business leaders and an advanced partner ecosystem, India has the required potential to lead the world’s digital transformation journey,” said Alok Ohrie, President & Managing Director, India Commercial, Dell EMC.

Going ahead, 62% companies said that they would be investing 30% of the 2016 IT budget in transformation projects. This would be in areas like converged infrastructure (80%), analytics, big data and data processing (78%), ultra high-performance compute technologies (82%) and next generation mobile apps (76%) in the next 12 months. About 93% are investing in company-wide data-driven decision-making and 88% are focused on equipping themselves with always-connected,sensor-enabled and location-awar technologies.

A large majority – 87%- said that they face an ongoing need to invest in reskilling their internal IT teams, yet only half rated available internal training resources as fair/ average. Less than 10% rated the internal skills for digital transformation as excellent. Most companies are turning to external help to bring about this transformation, with 86% saying that they are working with system integrators, value added resellers, consultants and other partners to help them on their journey. About 66% of respondents felt that partners add value in explaining the offering, while 39% seek external assistance for training.


American-Indian IoT Startup 75F targets 100 Crore In India By 2018-19

Award winning 75F Inc is headquartered in Minneapolis and was launched in 2012 by two entrepreneurs of Indian heritage, Deepinder Singh and Pankaj Chawla (who is an Indian citizen and has been overlooking the R&D centre in Bangalore). The startup builds solutions in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) using Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing specifically for commercial buildings. They launched operations in India in August 2016, and hopes to hit rupees 100 crores in revenue by end of fiscal year 2018-2019.

We speak to the founders trying to reach this hefty goal to find out more:

Launching your business in India, what’s your biggest learning about your Indian clients?

Large or small, the Indian business consumer is looking for efficiency and comfort, power in the palm of his hand, at a cost that is affordable.

Tell us more about 75F and its business

75F creates solutions that harness the power of IoT and cloud computing to predict building needs and manage them proactively, making buildings more energy-efficient, automated, smart and comfortable.

We compete with the likes of Honeywell & Johnson Controls. Nevertheless, has attained significant traction in the US market.

We have recently launched our award winning ‘dynamic air flow balancing’ technology in India also known as ‘The Internet of Air’.

Leveraging IoT design philosophy and the power of cloud computing, this technology will achieve what was once thought to be only theoretically possible. That is continuous commissioning or perfect air balancing while driving energy efficiency.

Is 75F coming to India as the second market directly after USA? Or is it
present in other countries already? And why India?

Yes, 75F came to India directly after the USA, setting up its first international office in Bengaluru.

India was the choice of expansion because our R&D team is already present in India – they help develop faster-time-to market solutions and the HVAC solutions designed for India can easily be replicated for the Asian region. In addition, India is a promising market with 10-12% CAGR, so India was a natural first market to expand to.

What is the market size for commercial IoT in US vs. India?

In our area of expertise we estimate the market for intelligent commercial buildings in the US to be approximately 5 billion dollars and in India to be approximately 1 billion dollars.

What are the future plans of 75F in India?

We plan to establish ourselves in a few verticals, for example, IT/ITeS, healthcare and hospitality, in about 4 major metros, in the next 2-3 years.

In addition, new building deployments represent an enormous opportunity with Indian economy appearing to be robust for the medium term growth. And much larger than that are the existing buildings, given that our solution is retrofit-friendly.

There are a few new companies in this sector and all of them only mention Honeywell as a competitor. Could you share your honest opinion on who can become the market leader for commercial IoT automation in India?

While there are many players in the building controls sector, there really are none that provide the entire solution – from HVAC airflow management to building automation, sensors and controls, to big data analytics. No other player in the market offers predictive, proactive controls that are truly based on cloud-computing and IoT. Others use legacy on-premise server architecture with the inherent costs, complexity, maintenance issues and limited life.


Entrepreneurs head to Uttar Pradesh for the national startup fest

Poll-bound Uttar Pradesh has one more thing coming its way from the Centre — it has emerged as top contender to host the national startup fest.

Originally planned to be held in Hyderabad, the industry department is now considering Uttar Pradesh as its preferred choice, with the industrial city of Kanpur the likely venue.

The government wants to take the startup drive to tier II and tier III cities, where the infrastructure and ecosystem for entrepreneurs still needs to be created.

“We want to strengthen entrepreneurial activity in tier II cities…There should be many more Bengaluru- and Hyderabad-like cities for startups in states like Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh,” said Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently.

Uttar Pradesh government officials, too, have stepped up activity to woo startups and budding entrepreneurs.

The date for the event — initially planned for August — is yet to be finalised by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, which is spearheading the Startup India initiative.

“We are working out various details of the event…there has been a delay. It could be held by March 2017 now,” a senior government official said.

DIPP plans to invite over 10,000 startups to the event. The fest is being planned to provide a platform for matchmaking startups and venture capital funds and angel investors, besides discussing key issues facing budding entrepreneurs. The focus will be on sectors such as education, health, manufacturing and agriculture.

The agenda of the grand event will range from funding to mentoring. DIPP proposed to organise a national and an international fest enabling all stakeholders of the startup ecosystem to come together on one platform. The Startup India action plan announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January this year mentioned that such an event would provide national and international visibility to India’s startups.

The government wants to use the national startup fest as a platform to find innovative solutions to on-ground problems. Various government departments have been asked to suggest areas where startups can pitch in with ideas.

The exercise will be undertaken as part of the Grand Challenge in the startup national fest. Problems of social and environmental nature such as water conservation can be posed to startups and they would be given a few months to see if they can come up with solutions.


Indian start-ups must go global: Simon Galpin

At a time when New Delhi is busy in promoting the Make in India programme, Bahrain Economic Development Board managing director Simon Galpin came to the country to woo investors to invest in their country’s manufacturing activities, besides a whole lot of other activities, including infrastructure and start-ups. Galpin tells Indivjal Dhasmana there are complementarities in the Modi government’s flagship programme to boost manufacturing and investing in factory production in Bahrain. Edited excerpts :

Why should Indian companies invest in Bahrain?

The main reason is Bahrain’s geographical location. It’s a great hub for accessing markets across GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and across West Asia. Our tax regime makes it a very efficient place to put those activities because we have zero income tax, zero capital gains tax and corporation tax. We have this arrangement where goods can be sold into other GCC members at zero tariffs and we have a free trade agreement with the United States. If an Indian company adds 35 per cent of value to products in Bahrain, it could access all those markets.

Has any Indian company evinced interest to invest in Bahrain and in which sectors?

Yes, there are a number of Indian companies in joint ventures in the manufacturing sector. There are many opportunities, but a few are clear ones. One is downstream aluminium manufacturing. Bahrain has one of the largest aluminium smelters in the world. Even then, we are about to expand it. So, there is this opportunity to use aluminum raw materials to produce a wide array of products, particularly in automotives. The other area is food processing. We have Mondelez, one of the world’s largest food manufacturers, in Bahrain. So, there are opportunities for suppliers, sub-contractors, packaging companies and raw material processing companies on the food side to come to Bahrain.

How does this whole gamut of changes in Bahrain help our Make in India programme?

Make in India programme is about expanding India’s manufacturing capabilities. Of course, for many of the products that could be produced in Bahrain, the starting point of semi-finished products could be in India. We are giving Indian manufacturers access to even bigger markets.

India is buzzing with start-up activity. Do you have opportunity for them in Bahrain as well?

We believe there is tremendous potential to grow Bahrain as a start-up hub. India has tremendous recognition now as one of the major centres for start-up activities in the world. What we are looking to do is to encourage scale-ups. Start-ups that have already cracked the Indian markets need to go global now and consider having a base in Bahrain to expand to rest of GCC and also other markets. What we want to do is to persuade high networth individuals in Bahrain to become angel investors and support and invest in start-up founders.

But, India-Bahrain trade is minuscule. Why is it so?

Well, Bahrain in itself is a relatively small market. But, it’s a great test market because it’s so accessible, it’s so open, it’s a great platform to enter much larger markets.

How does the country take on depressed oil prices over the past few years?

In Bahrain, we are going through restructuring of our economy. Bahrain has a well-developed plan to diversify our economy away from oil and gas into other areas such as manufacturing and financial services.

We also have a very ambitious plan of infrastructure projects amounting to more than $32 billion or in other words annual gross domestic product of the country. These infrastructure projects present tremendous opportunities for Indian sub-contractors and suppliers.

How has slump in oil prices affected Bahrain?

It was an opportunity for us because it means that we can push forward reforms and changes that will make the Bahrain’s economy even more competitive. Bahrain already has the most diversified economy in GCC. That is being accelerated further due to oil prices. There are three big opportunities that Indian companies look at– one as I already told you is infrastructure push, from expansion of airports to modernisation of oil refineries, expansion of aluminum smelter, tourism and development projects. Secondly, we live up to our reputation as business-friendly country. So, we are putting in place a number of changes that will make business environment even more attractive and that is soft infrastructure. Third thing is like putting in place a revised bankruptcy law, new trust laws, limited liability partnership laws. Besides, we are expanding the list of industrial sectors that are open to 100 per cent Indian ownership. So, you don’t need to have JV partners for most businesses.