Internationalisation: Unlocking the Next
Stage of Growth for High-Potential Indian SMEs

Internationalisation: Unlocking the Next
Stage of Growth for High-Potential Indian SMEs

Ankita Tyagi | 13th July 2022

EU is India's third largest trading partner, accounting for EUR 62.8 billion worth of trade in goods in 2020 or 11.1% of total Indian trade. It is also the second-largest destination for Indian exports (14% of the total) after the USA.

Initiated from top levels of leadership, the Europe-India relationship has been undergoing a series of transformational shifts in recent times. Both regions see each other as equal partners. Europe is a leader in R&D and sustainable technologies. India, on the other hand, is a large consumption market and a burgeoning innovation ecosystem. The country recently celebrated its 100 th unicorn. Technology and sustainability form the core of many such high-potential start-ups and SMEs. For such high-performing Indian businesses with unique technologies and low cost of production, internationalisation is the next logical course of action.

In March 2022, export of Indian goods crossed the USD 400 billion mark for the first time. This is likely to grow owing to the current geopolitical situation; the world is increasingly looking at India for trade. An important role can be played by MSME’s who already contribute to 30% of India’s GDP and contribute to 40% of India’s exports. Small and medium-sized enterprises are crucial for local economic development, playing a noteworthy role in job creation, poverty alleviation and economic growth. An important aspect of their growth trajectory is their ability to find new markets and the ability to gear up to address specific requirements while keeping costs under check.

While these are laudable ambitions, factors like lack of exposure and adequate knowledge for internationalisation prevent SME’s from building their offshore reach. European stakeholders are highly quality-conscious, additionally, they demand consistency and standard certifications to engage with offshore suppliers. At the same time, ethical conduct, technological adeptness and adequate compliance with the local laws are prerequisites for building long-term cross-border relationships. In recent times, green, low carbon manufacturing and circularity of operations have also become an important factor.

Most SMEs recognise the need to work with a local partner in foreign countries as part of the internationalisation process. This is a crucial step, but a lot of preparation and due diligence is required to make for a successful partnership. It is imperative for such businesses to understand the local market, culture, quality expectations, and sentiments along with regulatory aspects relating to setting up, finance, IPs, taxation and much more.

For the same, Indian businesses need to become globally competitive. They, thus require support in building customer-centric quality, management of technology as a process, market access strategies, facility management, risk management, awareness about relevant Intellectual property frameworks, financing options in internationalisation and sustainability of operations.

The Business Readiness for Internationalisation Programme is one such programme which captures all this into a short and case-study-based course. Launched by EBTC, in collaboration with learned partners and renowned industry leaders, the programme will help in network facilitation, fostering understanding of markets on both sides of the borders and creating frameworks for action through customised support and leadership interactions. Case studies are integral and the most valuable aspect of the programme, where SMEs will have an opportunity to learn from the practical experience of industry pioneers.

The programme is aligned with the core mandate of EBTC which is fostering collaboration in the Europe-India Business Corridor for enhanced economic activity leading to stronger ties between the two regions.

internationalisation, growth, SMEs