|Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are the unsung heroes of Kerala’s economic resurgence just as in many other parts of the country. It is to celebrate and honour the success stories of SMEs in Kerala that Destination Kerala magazine has instituted the SME Excellence Awards. Guided by an independent jury comprising prominent business leaders, the second edition of the awards was held on December 7 at Crowne Plaza Kochi.|
Raviz Hotels & Resorts presents Destination Kerala SME Excellence Awards 2018 powered by Luxury Partner Rajasree Motors (Dealers for Mercedes-Benz) was organised in association with Kerala Bureau of Industrial Promotion (K-BIP) and Kerala State Small Industries Association (KSSIA).
This year the SME Excellence Awards saw over 200 nominations across 10 sectors such as Food Processing/Fruits Processing/Rice Mills; Ayurveda/Traditional Medicines; General Engineering; Electrical & Electronics; Coir; Jewellery & Diamonds; Rubber & PVC; Footwear & Leather; Garments/Handloom/Silk; and Wood/Furniture.
The event was inaugurated by Prof. K V Thomas MP. “There is a perception that the climate in Kerala, political or otherwise, is not conducive enough for running businesses. But Kerala has its advantages. The State may not be ideally suited for operating major industries but SMEs can definitely function very successfully here,” said Thomas in his inaugural address. He cited the example of tourism industry in Kerala in this regard. “The tourism industry is moving ahead very fast. Most of our tourism activities are village-centric and such tourisms initiatives are self-sustaining and self-developing.”
He also alluded to the success of health and convention tourisms in Kerala. “Moreover, Kerala’s work force is both intelligent and committed. So I think the State’s climate is slowly changing, although there are a few issues such as lightning strikes and hartals. But, I think all major political parties are now slowly coming together and reaching a consensus on keeping a check on the recurrence of such unhealthy practices in Kerala. It is the only way forward for Kerala,” he said.
E P Jayarajan, Industries Minister of Kerala, who was the Chief Guest for the event, through video message, said that he became fully aware of the problems being faced by the SME community as a result of the recent devastating floods that hit the State.
“The general attitude in Kerala is that making money is a crime and doing business is a bigger crime. We should come out of this mindset and start viewing entrepreneurs as people who spur growth of the economy,” said K Biju IAS, Director, Department of Industries & Commerce, Government of Kerala, delivering the presidential address. “In Kerala, the cost of land is generally high and its availability is also high. If we take any project, we can see that the value of the land constitutes at least 5 to 10 per cent of the total project cost. We have come up with crucial steps to bring about drastic changes in the entire land allotment policy for industrial development. We would like to see that there is space for the industry by allowing them to grow vertically and create small business growth centres by which people can bring in investment and lease out the space to industry. We are living in the times of disruptive ideas and technologies. So, if the people are willing to innovate and come out with new ideas which cause disruption in the existing technology, there is potential for economic growth,” he said.
Venugopal C Govind, MD & CEO, Varma & Varma Chartered Accountants, presented an enlightening session on ‘financial integrity and statutory compliance’, which is a matter of concern for the SME community. “Growth is difficult, sustenance is difficult, continuous progress is difficult, collapse can happen at any time and business is hugely challenging,” he observed.
“We have come to a stage where disruption of technology is what is important. Disrupt all the technology, be creative and innovative. Product and customer form the bottom line of all businesses. Right product with right quality, and to be in the right place at the right time are things that keep your customers happy and satisfied. This relation is the most important one, whether the business is big or small,” he underscored.
The inaugural ceremony was followed by Jury Report presentation by Vivek Krishna Govind, Senior Partner, Varma & Varma Chartered Accountants and Immediate Past President, Kerala Management Association (KMA). “Those who applied were shortlisted based on criteria such as information on financials and product innovation which they submitted to the jury. The 10 winners across eight categories have made it purely on the basis of their merit. And that is a big thing. Some of them are not known to any one of us. But they exist and deliver. And that is the beauty of this recognition platform,” he said.
Anand Sarma, Director, KPMG India; Lekha Balachandran, MD, ResiTech Electricals, who was also among the winners of the first edition of the SME Excellence Awards (2017); Rajesh Nair, Associate Partner-Markets, South India, EY & Immediate Past President of TiE Kerala and Vivek Krishna Govind were the jury members for the awards this year.
Prof. K V Thomas MP presented the awards to the winners. The award citation was presented by K Biju IAS while the gifts sponsored by crocurry.com and Wilmax England were presented by Venugopal C Govind.