Europe-India SME Internationalisation

Europe-India SME

Vivek Agarwal | 1st Sep 2020

With a large market of over 1.3 billion, the Indian population provides a huge market for international companies to tap into, test new products, explore and expand within the country. Despite this, SMEs in India have faced challenges in capturing the market due to limited access and know-how of modern machinery and technology.

In order to work towards an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India), this gap needs to be addressed through partnerships with international SMEs for technological collaboration, capacity building and knowledge exchange. International experience shows that enhancing engagement with global markets is key to strengthening SME contributions to economic development, job creation, and social development. SMEs accrue significant benefits from internationalizing in terms of becoming more productive, innovative, and competitive. The gains in competitiveness at the firm level can also flow to other firms and can lead to improved economic performance.

In this regard, the European SMEs, known for their technological expertise, accuracy, knowhow and global brands can play a major role in supporting internalization of Indian SMEs by making them competitive and thereby improving India’s productivity on the whole.

The Europe-India Internationalisation Programme will work towards alleviating existing challenges and bring together several stakeholders to facilitate collaborations and technology transfer through creation of outcome-oriented partnerships. The programme shall provide awareness to businesses with regard to market entry, identifying mutual synergies, providing facilitation support in terms of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), creating opportunities for integration in Global Value Chains (GVC), showcasing products and services, assisting in getting funding support, and more. The programme will essentially be a gateway to European innovation for Indian firms.

Moreover, with the Government of India introducing a number of initiatives which offer new investment opportunities, it will further support SME internationalisation. Some of these key measures include increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit in defense production from 49% to 74%, opening of private sector for commercial mining and exploration activities, €1.16 billion fund for start-ups, €47 million fund for promotion of medical devices park, among several others.

Also, with the change in the MSME definition, the transitioning from an input-based planning to an output/ outcome based approach, the focus towards development of digital business infrastructure, and the shift from a ‘supply focus’ to ‘demand focus’, India is laying the foundation for the next wave.

These policy initiatives, along with appropriate financial support, can successfully support SME internationalisation in India and help in cross-border trade and business collaboration with various European nations. Each of these initiatives can be used to facilitate partnerships between firms with mutual interests while assisting in related modalities, easing navigation and providing support services. This is an opportune moment for such a platform to help India realize its dream of self-reliance.

To learn more about the Europe-India Internationalisation Programme, please reach out to the author or address your queries or feedback to

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