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The advent of advanced technology has given rise to newer channels for businesses across several sectors. This is particularly true for B2B e-commerce firms focused on the Indian SME sector. Further, innovative technological platforms are making possible in bringing on board many small players including the neighborhood Kirana store. This is proving to be a win-win situation for all, thereby enabling a smoother transaction, procurement of raw materials and industrial goods, and forging a forging a better connection between established brands and small shop owners. With SMEs in India expected to be a $25.8 billion market for emerging technologies by 2020, the B2B e-commerce is a trend that is sure to gain more momentum in 2017. Amalgamation of e-commerce & m-commerce: With the deeper penetration of Internet in recent times, digital transformation in the Indian SME sector is no longer a distant dream. This coupled with extensive use of smartphones which are becoming more accessible and affordable, is resulting in SMEs simultaneously adapting to both webs as well as mobile-based technology. As per an EY report, companies have shifted their focus on mobility as against social resulting in a change from Social-Mobility Analytics & Cloud (S-M-A-C) to Mobility-Analytics-Cloud & Social (M-A-C-S). M-A-C-S technologies are being readily adopted by second generation entrepreneurs in order to bring in operational efficiency and transform customer experience and thereby enhance their revenue. Indian SME sector is geared up to benefit the union of e-commerce and m-commerce as a perfect recipe for success in 2017.
Improvement in SME Lending: One of the constraints in the growth of the SME sector is the nonavailability of easy finance. Small and medium enterprises face difficulty in banking with traditional banks due to lack of experience, the absence of collaterals and infrastructure, poor financials, and small ticket size. The emergence of Fintech players with their significant online presence is now making it convenient for the SMEs to receive loans. The year 2017 has experienced a surge in NBFCs with a special focus on offering customized loan solutions on online platforms. These alternative lending companies are using technology like analytics and other scanning metrics like their sales and fulfillment records to check the creditworthiness of the sellers and disburse loans in less than 48 hours. Many mainstream banks like Bank of Baroda is partnering with new age Fintechs to expand their reach in the SME sector.
The MSME sector is expected to contribute significantly to India’s growing GDP. This sector is projected to improve the nation’s financial inclusion and mitigate the urban-rural divide. Again, it is expected that by 2020, India will have the largest job ready, youth population in the world and this sector will not only generate employment of significant level but will also become the hotbed of entrepreneurial activities. The government realizes the urgency for providing a congenial atmosphere to foster the growth of Indian MSME and 2017 witnessed the strengthening of current policies and the introduction of new initiatives to improve the business environment for MSMEs. Secondly, the implementation of the much-awaited GST Bill has benefitted MSMEs not only with simpler tax structure but also with improved technology adoption in order to comply with the GST system. With the “one Nation, One tax” approach, Indian is poised to be an open market helping SMEs explore new markets with few entry barriers for business expansion.
The GST bill is set to revolutionize the Indian tax system and offer the SME sector an equal footing as compared to their bigger more established counterparts. To conclude, 2017 has been a year of progressive changes in the Indian SME sector based on the above-mentioned trends. Several policy interventions along with technology and innovation continue to play a pivotal role in creating a business-friendly atmosphere for the SMEs.
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