New Delhi Head-Quartered GPA group was set up in 2010 and it commenced operations as small construction company with a small investment. At present the group is a business conglomerate — ranging from mobile phone manufacturing to tea estate – which has an annual turnover of Rs 200 crore. Some of the group companies include — M-Tech Informatics Ltd, Compare Munafa Online Pvt Ltd, Belgachi Tea Company etc. The group employs more than 1500 people.
Vivek Agarwal, Chairman and Managing Director, GPA Group spoke to Sandip Das on the challenges faced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
Q: What are the key policy hurdles for small enterprises like your company?
A: SMEs in the country face several hurdles. Access to finance is the biggest need for small size entrepreneurs, however there are limited sources. Small size entrepreneurs have most need for capacity building support. There is also limited presence of incubators and networks to provide capacity building.
Getting talented people to work in SMEs and retaining them is a huge challenge. Besides, the government regulations like compliance norms and absence of a national body to accord requisite clearances present regulatory hurdles for setting up and closure of a business is a huge hurdle for small and medium sized enterprises in the country.
Q: Do government policies reflect SME’s concern?
A: Many policy benefits are there for large sectors but SME’s face a lot of problem to getting those benefits. Lack of infrastructure and market linkage poses huge challenge to small enterprises in the country.
Q: What should the government do to boost SMEs growth?
A: Increasing the supply of early stage capital by focusing on angel networks and early stage VC funds, enhance capacity building support by strengthening the network of business incubators in the country through greater private sector participation are some of the measures the government could take on urgent basis. The government both at the center and state level must provide business facilitation support through tax incentives and ensure one gateway project clearance policy.
Q: How did you start the journey as an entrepreneur?
A: I started with the real estate in 2010 and purchased a plot and the profit earned from that investment has been invested in other real estate project and so on. There is a great saying that money makes money. So I earned money from the money. Profits in real estate venture have given me a boost to start another venture like mobile manufacturing, e-commerce, FMCG, advertisement and others.
Q: Any suggestion for those planning to set up SMEs?
A: Entrepreneurs are a vital catalyst for India‘s economic growth. However, the growth of SME is constrained by lack of access to finance and limited business support. So identify the constraints and try to counter these within your networks or engage with key stakeholders of the entrepreneurial ecosystem to potentially influence changes in policy or address policy gaps.