India opens support to Sri Lankan SMEs

One of world’s most dynamic SME and MSME collectives has come forward to support Sri Lankan MSMEs to fulfil its long cherished dream of going global. The offer, made to Lankan SMEs for the first time in its history, also includes free marketing and tech know-how assistance for Lankan SMEs. “Our Prime Minister HE Narendra Modi wants to increase Indian MSME’s contribution to GDP in a big way. If we support Lankan SMEs, the Lankan sector in turn will supply us and support us too. But we are not talking of support to Sri Lankan SMEs for entering only Indian markets but we are ready to support them to go global, at no costs” said Rajnish Goenka, influential Founder Chairman of India’s MSME Development Forum (IMSME-DF) the first integrated and Unified Platform for the huge Indian MSME sector. Chairman Goenka was addressing Sri Lankan Minister of Industry, Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Cooperative Development, Skills Development & Vocational Training (ICTPDPCDSDVT) Rishad Bathiudeen on 17 September in Colombo during his courtesy call on Minister Bathiudeen. Despite being born to an affluent Indian freedom fighters’ family, Chairman Goenka himself is a proven entrepreneur, having created a successful and a vast business empire that now spans beyond India-to Dubai, China, and the USA. He is a member of the Indian National Board of Ministry of MSME and was also the National Convenor of the ruling Bhartiya Janatha Party (BJP)’s Micro and Small Industries Cell during 2014.

“We MSME-DF are working in tandem with Indian government. We are ready to extend support for marketing, promotion and technology for Sri Lankan SMEs. We are not able to give financial support since there is a huge demand by Indian MSMEs for that. We can provide a good platform for Lankan SMEs. My discussions with Minister Bathiudeen and some local entrepreneurs shown that Sri Lankan SMEs and MSMEs are faced with three types of issues-in finance, marketing and technology. We will support marketing and technology aspects. For example I met Lankan entrepreneurs in Colombo who developed medical equipment related innovations but are unable to find any market opportunities here. We shall provide such Lankan SMEs and innovators a new market in India” said Chairman Goenka and added: “The MSME-DF not only has a strong presence in Indian market, but also has 35 overseas branches in overseas including in USA, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, etc. MSME-DF has 50000 Indian SMEs as members, 500,000 affiliated Indian SMEs and a database of another two-million SMEs. We also serve Indian micro enterprises. As for tech support, it depends on the type of request made by Lankan SMEs. India is the cheapest technology hub in the world. Even many US, French satellites are now launched in India since the costs are very low-only one sixth of the cost in comparison to their countries. Similarly many small technologies that can be used by Lankan SMEs could be transferred on a win-win basis. We are ready facilitate B2B matchmaking for Lankan SMEs with our MSME sector and even with our corporates- totally free. Even if Lankan government agencies have a problem in B2B connectivity with Indian SMEs, we will arrange that free of charge since we are supported by Indian government. Our Prime Minister HE Narendra Modi wants to increase Indian MSME’s contribution to GDP and economy in a big way. If we support Lankan SMEs, the Lankan sector in turn will supply us and support us too. But we are not talking of support to Sri Lankan SMEs for entering only Indian markets but we are ready to support them to go global, at no costs by improving quality, and preferably on a win-win basis.”

Minister Bathiudeen warmly welcomed Chairman Goenka’s proposals and thanked him. “India has helped us in many ways and our bilateral cooperation dates back to centuries” he said and added: “Sri Lanka has a little more than one million registered SMEs and together with micro enterprises and unregistered SMEs, they are a major contributor to our GDP.  The first national SME Policy of Sri Lanka has been introduced by NEDA under me. Still, financing and micro credit, marketing, innovation, technology and incubation are major hurdles and areas that need support for our SMEs. Therefore I believe that Indian MSME-DF’s assistance would be invaluable to us. I am sure that our SMEs shall welcome such support including B2B links immediately and also like to partner with Indian SMEs for win-win projects. I shall instruct my Ministry officials and SME agencies under me to move forward on your suggestions.”

India’s dynamic MSME sector is over 46 million units and is one of the largest such sectors in the world, taking 29% of Indian GDP (both SMEs and MSMEs -US $ 783 Billion of $ 2.7 trillion Indian GDP, in 2018). India aims to increase MSME’s contribution to GDP to 50% in the next five years under its US $ 5 trillion GDP target.