Strategy, Clusters and Incentives Key to Drive kerala’s SME Sector
At Destination Kerala we have always believed that SMEs are the unsung heroes of Kerala’s balanced social development, economic resurgence and dynamic entrepreneurial fabric. However, they hardly get the support they truly deserve for being successful. It is estimated that there are over 3,00,000 SME units in the State employing little below 1,50,000 people. Kerala’s SME sector has witnessed around 12 per cent industrial growth in the past four years (2013-2017) – a much higher figure in comparison with other states. The State with its talented human resources, superb connectivity and communication infrastructure has turned out to be a well-suited model for the growth of the SMEs. Though the government has identified 75 SME clusters, it is generally felt that cluster development activity in Kerala is yet to attain a remarkable level of success.
Kerala’s industrial infrastructure has multiple facilities created by the government which include cooperative societies, industrial estates, development areas/plots and industrial parks. Amidst all these initiatives, industry experts pointed out that SME exports posted discouraging trends. Only 3.36 per cent of the total SME exports from the country are from Kerala. Hence, there is a need to provide higher rate of investment subsidies to export-oriented units.
Inability to survive competition from large players; incapability to discard outdated technology; lack of managerial expertise to control costs; poor marketing strategies; prevailing mind-set of entrepreneurs expecting protection and preferential treatment from government rather than being pro-active and competitive, are being cited as the reasons for the challenges that affect the SME growth momentum. A comprehensive and innovative strategy is the need of the hour.
The Kerala Perspective Plan 2030, a vision document of the State Planning Board, observes that the MSME sector in Kerala is emerging into a knowledge-driven competitive economy with a high spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, social inclusion and diversity.
On December 7, Destination Kerala will celebrate the SME community at its annual SME Excellence Awards held in association with K-BIP and KSSIA. Awardees have been selected by an independent jury of eminent persons. Their stories will feature in our New Year issue. This is the least we can do.
Wishing all readers a Merry Christmas.