EMERGING OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDIAN ENTREPRENEURS
It is high time out entrepreneurs realize the importance of being choosy in project identification. Till recently, we in India kept on exploring the possibilities of manufacturing almost everything, right from pins to planes and screws to sub-marines. Just as companies and individuals carry out SWOT analysis for identifying business opportunities for our entrepreneurs. The completing demands for our limited and meager resources are many and unless we apply a degree of selectivity in our approach in resource allocation, we will continue to be a nation of foundation stones. Given below are a few areas where we can think of concentrating more.
Tourism and Hospitality
India is a country of many countries. Our diverse culture, religions, languages, rich heritage and vast geographical area make the country a place of tourist attraction. Hills and beaches, temples and palaces, the deserts and the jungles are all these. There are not many countries in the world where you can surf the sand and the sea. Privatization of airports and aviation sector could further give boost to tourism industry. Tourism should therefore receive topmost priority.
India may not be the best car-manufacturing base, but we can certainly be the best ancillaries to the automobile industry world over. Our entrepreneurs are capable to developing global scale auto ancillaries. By all means, we should also continue car manufacturing, but we must do it at a scale and quality at which the world community takes us seriously.
As a nation we have excelled in production of two wheelers – be they cycles, scooters or motorcycles. We have the technology, the skills, and most of all, the critical mass to affect a breakthrough. We should aim at capturing the world’s two-wheelers markets.
India has the potential of becoming a leading supplier of garments, apparels, silk, hosiery and textiles. Indian textiles are well known world over. Our Ludhiana and Tirupur entrepreneurs have done proud to the country in the area of woolen and cotton industry. By understanding customer needs through extensive and systematic market research we can capture more markets world over.
India has already made a strong dent in world’s software market. For us the most natural thing is to be number one software and consultancy services suppliers. Our country has the right resources in the form of vast population of educated youth. Other developed and developing countries with vast resources can perhaps continue making advances in manufacturing of computers, computer hardware and computer chips year after year. Software exports from India are growing more than 50 per cent per annum.
Light and Medium Engineering Industry
Many countries of the world are far ahead of India in manufacturing aircraft, ship and products of similar nature. Unfortunately, we in India try to manufacture everything and finally end up doing nothing well. Our strength lies in the light and medium engineering industry. We are in a position to provide a leading edge in this industry. India also has the capability of becoming world’s best foundry products maker. We should concentrate more areas where we have an edge rather than thinly spreading our limited resources and expertize in areas like manufacture of aircraft and flexible machine systems.
Among India’s vast population there are communities like Marwaris, Punjabis, Gujaratis, Tamilians, etc., with acumen for trading and acting as suppliers. It is, therefore, logical on part of such communities to become global players in trading and operate at international levels. By doing so we will be doing something that we are good at.
Education and Training
India has some of the world’s best universities and educational institutes, i.e., JNU, IIMS, IITS, IISc, etc. The cost of education and training in India is nominal in comparison to developed countries. There is vast reservoir of talented people in the country. By pooling resources and networking with resource organizations we can create education and training facilities not only for Indians but also for scholars from abroad. Indian educational institutions, both government and privately managed, have the capacity and expertise to offer affordable education to persons from other countries.
India holds lot of potential for developing its poultry and poultry – based industries. A vast population and export potential make this industry a lucrative activity for those who want to be in poultry allied industry.
India has emerged as one of the topmost food producing countries in the world. Indian climate is suitable for growing vast varieties of food grain. At present, most of the food grain is sold in raw form. In food habits the world over is undergoing change. As a matter of convenience, people, especially youngsters, prefer fast food or ready to eat food. Indian food is well known world over. We need to exploit this potential by processing our food grains. Processed food will have good market in India as well as abroad. Food processing would also help us earn must-needed foreign exchange.
Fruit and Vegetable Processing
Fruit and vegetables are grown in plenty in India. The country has emerged as a leading producer of fruit and vegetables. Because of poor transportation facilities, inefficient infrastructure, bumper crops and lack of marketing facilities, many a time, lots of vegetables and fruit simply go waste. We need to create fruit and vegetable processing facilities all over the country so as to harness the potential for their production. Fruit and vegetable processing offers potential for high value addition and potential entrepreneurs can earn a lot from such products. By processing of fruit and vegetables, our producers will get proper price for their products, entrepreneurs will have good business opportunities, masses will get employment and export of processed fruit and vegetables will increase. While processing fruit and vegetables, our entrepreneurs need to take all possible care so as to ensure quality and standard of their products.
Manufacture of Business Attires
Manufacture of business attires, especially for Indian women, is going to be a rewarding business in days to come. Women’s participation in white-collar jobs is on the increase. With the influx of multinational companies in India, workplace outlook and environment are improving. Well managed companies, whether MNCs or of Indian origin, expect their employees to look smart and dress well. Some of the organizations also prescribe a dress code. Increasing presence of women in various workplaces has given a boost to business attire market. Till recently, business attires, especially for women used to originate from developed countries and women used to pay hefty price for such dresses. The growing business attire market offers good business opportunities in this sector. Our potential entrepreneurs can think of getting into this business both for Indian and overseas clients.
Corporate gifting has picked up in India in the recent years. Indian companies and business organizations spend crores of rupees on giving gifts to their employees, shareholders and business associates on occasions like Diwali, New Year and Annual General Meetings. As per rough estimates, corporate India spends approximately Rs.1000 crore every year on corporate gifting and the culture is on the rise. Potential entrepreneurs, especially those good in public relations, can easily get into such business. Other associated businesses in this line could be manufacture of greeting cards (Diwali, New Year, Christmas, Valentine day, Birthday, etc.) for various occasions.
Herbal Medicines and Skincare Products
India has the distinction of growing vast variety of herbs. Indian population of more than a billion ensures a sufficiently large market for herbal medicines and skincare products. People, world over, in general and in developed countries, in particular, are becoming increasingly aware of after-effects of allopathic medicines and synthetic skincare products. Women, in particular, are slowly switching over from synthetic skincare products to herbal-based products. India has an established tradition of growing and using variety of herbs. We need to go in for commercialization of herbal-based medicines and skincare products in a big way.
Even though mineral water manufacturing was started in India during the 1960s, but the market did not pick up till 1985. During late 1980s and 1990s mineral water market in India increased by an impressive rate of 30-40 per cent annum. Market for mineral water in India is spreading very fast. People are becoming health conscious. We are going to enter in an era when potable bottled water would find place in almost all general stores and it will become an unavoidable expenditure for people at large. Statistics reveal that size of Indian Mineral water market during 1999 was of the order of approximately Rs.800 crore. Many small-scale entrepreneurs can find business opportunities in this fast growing market.
Paints, Enamels and Varnishes
India is presently experiencing an automobile revolution. Standard of living of the sizeable Indian middle class is also improving at a rapid pace. Both these trends indicate an increasing market for paints, enamels and varnishing. Industrial and household use of these products is quite promising and much better than many other products. Manufacture of these products in small-scale sector should therefore need to be considered as a viable business proposition.
The concept of organic farming is of very recent origin in India, Many developed countries grow food organically. Health conscious persons prefer organically grown food. In India also, people are becoming increasingly health conscious. They are well aware of after effects of food and vegetables, which are grown by making excessive use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. Some companies and individual farmers have started organic farming in India. To ensure better health for our people we need to promote organic farming in a big way. Our potential entrepreneurs with interest in agricultural related activities would perhaps find good business opportunities in this area.
Music and Entertainment
Music and entertainment are required the world over. With a large number of channels in operation and a revolution in satellite technology the music and entertainment industry has thrown open numerous opportunities. Potential entrepreneurs should grab opportunities in the fast developing music and entertainment industry.
Literacy rate in India is slowly improving. Some of the conventional writing and learning materials are fast becoming obsolete. Also because of economies of scale and cheap labor availability, we as a nation are in a position to manufacture writing instruments at affordable prices. Now with access to better technologies and huge Indian and overseas markets, our entrepreneurs have an opportunity to exploit this market.
Per capita consumption of plastics in India is hardly 2-5 per cent of per capita consumption in developed countries like the US. Use of plastics in India, both in Industries and households, is going to pick up in coming years. In spite of ill effects of use of plastics, it is rather impossible to manage without it. The Indian plastic market is presently experiencing a growth rate of more than 10 per cent per annum. It provides scope for setting up small-scale plastic processing enterprises for manufacture of variety of plastic products.
Toy manufacturing (especially stuffed toys) is a low technology based less capital intensive and highly labor intensive industry. Superstores abroad usually source toys from China, Korea and Hong Kong. Consumption of toys in India and abroad is increasing. In India, the toy market grew 10-12 per cent per annum during the late 1990s. It is estimated to touch an annual growth rate of 15 per cent soon. India has potential to manufacture cost effective toys largely for Indian market and also for world toy market. If China and Korea can do it why cannot we? Our entrepreneurs need to consider toy manufacturing as a rewarding business.
Indian flowers are becoming increasingly popular in the world market. Flower market, especially exports, is becoming favorable to Indian florists. Improvements in infrastructure and transport facilities would further brighten the prospects of Indian flowers abroad. At the same time, florists need to concentrate on domestic flower market as well.
India’s population to hospital bed ratio is a very poor compared to World Health Organization’s standards. (India’s population to hospital bed ratio is 1300: 1 against the WHO recommended ratio of 250: 1). With the funds receding in government kitty, private sector will be required to play major role in the health-care sector. Health-care, both in corporatized sector (Organized sector) and also in informal sector, has potential for high growth in India.
It is believed that early twenty-first century will belong to biotechnology and software in India. In India biotechnology has just started picking up. Application of biotechnology especially in the areas of agriculture, horticulture, sericulture, poultry, dairy and production of fruit and vegetables will pay an important role in future. We should go for commercial application of biotechnology in various sectors of economy wherever it is found feasible. Biotechnology would therefore throw open many opportunities for entrepreneurs in future.
Information Technology (IT) Enabled Services
Business to Business Portal Solution (B2BPS) Services would be needed in a big way to address the emerging needs of IT enabled services sector. IT enabled services is a US$ 180 billion business. The sector includes services like GIS digitization, medical and legal transcription, medical billion, and insurance claim processing and archival and indexing of records. All these, and many more services, could be provided by Indian entrepreneurs. The pool of smaller service providers from India can meet the needs of outsourcing from US, and other developed countries.
The InfoTech industry is the fastest growing sector in India. Indian IT industry is of the size of US $5 billion at present and it is slated to grow to 20 times its current size of $100 billion by 2010. Prof. Michael Dertouzos, Director, Computer Science Laboratory at MIT (USA), visited India in February 2000 in connection with IT Asia 2000 conference. He was highly impressed by number of English literate people in India and spread of IT enabled services. He said that India can funnel a majority of new $3 trillion business opportunity being generated in the area of IT-enabled services – outsourcing basic white collar office work – by harnessing its 50 million English literate populations. Mr. Dertouzos feels that after call centres and medical transcription, a new business opportunity of outsourcing office work – accounting, legal, finance, marketing, claim forms – to developing countries is gaining popularity and Indian stands a good chance, right away, to grab a major share of this business. “Office work is estimated to be around $3 trillion annually and can fetch a decent $20,000 per annum to individuals in this business.
Application of information technology to education sector has started revolutionizing the process of education in the country. MNCs and Indian Internet companies have started setting up education portals in the country. In days to come professional education like management, medicines, engineering, law etc., would be taught by making extensive use of internet. Under the new innovative and emerging concept students would study and learn educational courses both at school and college level online, i.e., through internet. Some companies have already set up their web-sites, which offer various courses for school level students. IT-friendly potential entrepreneurs can look forward to getting franchise of major players in providing IT based educational courses.
As per industry estimates, total consumer spending in India is of the order of Rs.3, 80,000 crore. Current volume of organized retailing in India is about Rs.5, 000 crore. The organized retail industry business in India is expected to grow between 50-60 per cent each year during the next few years. Organized retail industry is likely to achieve sales volume of Rs.30,000 crore by 2005 and would move into smaller cities in India, given that there is beginning to be some comb lance of competition among organized retailers in the big cities. Retailing as a business, till recently, was confined to small-scale shopkeepers but now even large business houses have started considering it a potential opportunity. Venture capital and bank finance is also now available for prospective retailers. Experts in retail industry feel that retail business is truly globalization, and common patterns are emerging. Electronic retailing is yet another emerging area. Electronic retailing is happening more in business to business space than in the business to consumer space.
Processing, Refrigeration and Transportation of Food, Vegetables and Fruits
India has long suffered the lack of a comprehensive cold chain. A large Purdon of agricultural and other products produced in the country perish due to the lack of a serviceable refrigerated storage and distribution network. A detailed study conducted by the government on the agricultural and food industry has revealed that one-third of the products are ruined due to the lack of adequate storage and preservation facilities. Meat, poultry, fresh produce and dairy can only be distributed within limited geography and need to be consumed in a short period. Also, sensitive medical requisition like vaccine and pharmaceuticals are suffering due to the lack of refrigerated distribution. This state of affairs needs to be changed. Food and other precious resources in our country must be preserved at all costs. The refrigeration industry would be required to come through providing a wide range of industrial and commercial refrigeration services that can serve the entire gamut of cold storage and refrigerated transport to retail display and preservation units.
The cruising business is gradually picking up in India. The Rich and the Famous has led to immense popularity of cruises in last four years (1996-1999) with numbers increasing to 15,000 in 1999 from practically zero in 1996. The business of cruising represents enjoying the luxury of dining in fine restaurants, casinos, excursions to golden beaches and exotic islands. The perception of Indians about cruising business is changing. People no more consider cruising as meant for elderly and retirees alone. The concept of a cruise holiday is becoming immensely popular in India. The number of Indians holidaying on cruising trips in increasing due to enhanced awareness through better marketing and advertising by our operators, fatter pay packets, and a growing tendency to splurge.
To site an example of what kind of services cruises offer, Mr. Gautam Chadha, Chief Executive Officer of Discover the World Marketing (this company owns two famous cruise lines, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Celebrity Cruises) said P “You will never, ever be bored. You simply find a corner on ship’s library, relax in a deck chair or lounge on private veranda. For fun loving people, ships organize various activities such as flower arrangements, art auctions, cabarets, casino – Las Vegas style, guest singers, live bands, and the like”. He expects a growth rate of 25-30 per cent per annum in cruising business. At present, India does not represent even a fraction of the total world market for cruises. There are more than four million passengers onboard various cruise lines worldwide every year, he added. Recently developments in cruising business clearly indicate good opportunities in this sector.
E-commerce related business is poised for exponential growth in the early 21st century. Expansion of E-commerce in India and world over has given a boost to courier business. Recent increase in share prices of leading courier companies (1400 per cent increase in share price of Elbee Services in just six months and 400 per cent increase in share price of Blue Dart) is a clear indication of growth potential of courier related businesses. The logic is very simple. The service industry is expected to grow in leaps and bounds in the near future for the simple reason that physical delivery of goods will be primarily handled by courier services companies. Corporate in Net business will not be in a position to support a massive network of distribution, whose job in future will be reduced to just delivering the goods manufactured from the manufacturer’s doorsteps to the consumers. Besides maintaining a large network of distributors is expensive when even the big wigs in the industry are cutting costs. Due to these difficulties courier companies with an elaborate network would have enough business to transact. Their network is going to be particularly beneficial to Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies who, at present, depend on a network of sales persons to make their product reach the retail levels. If recent trends serve any indication, courier services, both in organized and unorganized sectors ensure a promising future.
Summer Solution Related Business Opportunities
Summer and power cuts are synonymous in India. Gone are the days when standby solutions to power cuts in the form of ‘Hat and Pankha’, ‘Khas ki Chik’, ‘Surahi’, etc. used to be kept handy. With the advent of technology solutions to frequent power cuts are immense. And for the times when power is regular life can be bliss with a variety of cooling devices in the form of high tech air conditioner and coolers. With latest state of the art technology being imbibed in these gadgets, healthy air and healthy food are a de rigueur in today’s AC and refrigerators. Silent invertors and one-pull generators are another lot becoming an essential buys for almost every household. Depending on the demand a variety of invertors and generators can be manufactured by small-scale entrepreneurs. Servo voltage stabilizers online UPS, line interactive UPS, automatic voltage stabilizers, constant voltage transformers, manual voltage regulators, isolation transformers, high voltage regulators, high voltage break down testers, electronic air conditioner protectors, spike suppressors and busters are the other products related to summer solutions which can easily be manufactured in small scale units.
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