A event focused on enlightening SMBs about the opportunities that technology makes possible.
Doubling down on its commitment towards small and medium businesses in India, Amazon India hosted Smbhav, a two-day event that saw 3600x Indian SMBs get together at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on 15 and 16 January.
The event focused on enlightening SMBs about the opportunities that technology makes possible. Smbhav also included an impressive roster of speakers, ranging from thought leaders to industry stalwarts like NR Narayana Murthy and Kishore Biyani. A three-part series documenting the events was aired on CNN-News18.
Smbhav also witnessed many fascinating panel discussions. One such engaging discussion was on Physical Retail and Ecommerce: Growing In Harmony, steered by Sameer Khetarpal, Director-Category Management with Amazon India. The panel included the heads of retail majors like Vijay Sales, Bata, Shoppers Stop etc who agreed that convergence of online and offline retail is more likely to lead to sustained success. Sumeet Narang, founder & MD of Samara Capital, said, “Not companies but ecosystems will win. Having the right ecosystem partner is going to make a difference.” Nilesh Gupta, Managing Partner of Vijay Sales, said, “Online (retail) has spurred the massive growth of electronics consumption. But most customers still buy things both online as well as offline. I think the retail ecosystem is still evolving.” Manish Tiwary, VP-Category Management with Amazon India, said, “For brands that are starting out, online retail provides a controlled environment where they can experiment, then take their products offline.”
Another riveting panel discussion with diverse opinions was on Blurring Geographical Boundaries For SMBs. Bala Sarda, founder of Vahdam Teas, said, “Until six months ago, 95% of our revenue was from online. We shipped to over 90 countries. We’ve been endorsed by icons like Oprah Winfrey and Mariah Carey. If we do well online, I think the offline route will become easier!” Ronaldo Mouchawar, Amazon’s VP for Consumer Retail Business in the Middle East, said, “Technology is helping break barriers, connecting sellers from here to our region. 30% of the people in our region are from India, so they’re like your champions for your products there.” Tanweer Mohammed, Deputy Director General & Secretary with the Govt of India, revealed that “The Department of Post is creating an ecommerce parcel handling capacity for MSMEs. We have established 190 hubs across India, 95% of which are in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.” His request to the SMBs to “trust your post offices again” received the loudest applause. Aditya Gahlaut, MD & Head - Global Sales and Receivables Finance with HSBC, said “Most customers are wary of exporting due to cross-border regulations. So banks have now developed a cross-border payment engine, enabling transaction processing for such SMBs.” The panel agreed on one thing - get started quickly on exports with Amazon’s marketplace.
Amazon Smbhav also recognized the impressive growth trajectory of Indian SMBs with awards for outstanding performers. Tanvi Johri of Carmesi was named Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and Vahdam Teas was named Global SMB of The Year. Mr. Sarda of Vahdam Teas was over the moon, saying, “Receiving the award from Jeff Bezos was the cherry on the cake!” Ms. Johri said, “I represent a brand that works on women’s issues, so this is very relevant.”This is a partnered post