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Exhibitions - The Important Economic Tool for SMEs Exhibitions support SMEs through the inclusion of features such special pavilions for SMEs, along with the presence of venture capital firms to provide seed investments for captivating ideas; job fairs and insightful seminars by industry thought leaders

By Yogesh Mudras

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The Indian exhibitions industry has grown significantly over the last decade and it is creating a positive impact on both private and public sectors. According to a report by the Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA), the industry contributes to around INR 254 billion to the economy of which INR 39.5 billion is a direct contribution by exhibitors through spending towards rental and service. The industry provides an indirect impact of INR 214.7 billion via expenditure towards accommodation, travel etc. It plays an important economic role - for the SMEs market, which is touted to be a $25.8 billion market for emerging technologies by 2020.

The exhibition as a Marketing Tool

The exhibitions are the most effective marketing tool for the SME sector, which provides a great platform for companies to engage and meet potential customers face-to-face. Every year, more than 700 trade shows are organized in India and give an opportunity for these small businesses to showcase their products & services. Today, trade shows offer maximum opportunities at one place in a limited period for SMEs and generate a multitude of leads and deals. They also offer a large variety of new impressions and inspirations. Moreover, they facilitate exchange and cooperation, leading to visions and projects that may give a new spin to SMEs. Besides, trade shows also support SMEs through the inclusion of features such special pavilions for SMEs, along with the presence of venture capital firms to provide seed investments for captivating ideas; job fairs and insightful seminars by industry thought leaders. Industry awards also handpick, recognise and reward fledgeling organisations for innovations and excellence and help publicise the work being done by their sector at large. The ministry of MSME through their scheme is also supporting the exhibiting companies and helping them in organizing exhibitions in the international market.

Government Support & Initiatives

Participating in large trade shows can be expensive for the small business units and it's incredibly important to take the time in due diligence to plan the costs and the strategy for marketing at a trade show. According to the recent industry report by the Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA), the Indian government has introduced several schemes to support the SMEs participation in trade shows. The National Small Industries Corporation under the Ministry of MSME provides a scheme for organizing and participating in the exhibition and supports co-sponsoring of the exhibition. The MSME Ministry will support in providing the space for the exhibition at subsidized rates to exhibitors who are engaged in the promotion & development of MSME growth in India. The MSME industry under their SME scheme will further provide assistance in marketing, International Cooperation, technology up-gradation.

A significant role in Nation's Development

SMEs are key players in the economy and the wider ecosystem of firms. Enabling them to adapt and thrive in a more open environment and participate more actively in the digital transformation is essential for boosting economic growth and delivering a more inclusive globalization. In India, the number is SMEs is estimated to be around 42.50 million and employs around 40 per cent of the workforce which is next only to the agriculture sector. The exhibition industry is creating various platforms and opportunities for the SME and start-up to grow and showcase their services and engage with their stakeholders.

Yogesh Mudras

Managing Director, Informa Markets in India

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