|Want to export but don't know how -- this is one of the common challenges that many of our small businesses have to live with. They are willing to take the plunge into exports, but feel crippled when look to reach out to overseas markets first time. They have no experience, and there is a real dearth of information on how to move on. This barrier may easily be overcome by experience, but for newcomers or non-exporters, this is not less difficult than to move a mountain.
Today, it is a well-known fact that small businesses play a significant role in a nation's economy. In India, we have millions of such enterprises, but their contribution to exports is only around 30 percent, and I think we have a vast scope to increase this share significantly by promoting export competitiveness of the sector. This requires -- among many other measures -- helping our small and medium enterprises get information on a silver platter.
Here, the government needs to step into a bigger role. Till now, only a feeble effort has been made towards this, so much so that our small entrepreneurs seeking to enter global markets have to run from pillar to post even for such basic information as how to export, what are the licenses required, whom to approach for registration, which channels to use, what are the incentives and schemes of the government, which overseas markets are worth targeting, and so on.
Similarly, making small entrepreneurs aware of various developments and changes in international and domestic trade, market development, taxation, logistics and supply chain management, international payment and transaction, overseas marketing operation, technology transfer, international collaborations and alliances, market research, business management skills, and other related areas is equally important. This could give a much-needed push to make SMEs feel more confident about entering global trade.
I think the government should undertake massive awareness programmes on the issue across the country. We need one-stop platforms that can serve all-round information needs of SMEs from diverse industrial segments; we need mechanisms that can keep SMEs in relevant sectors informed round-the-clock about opportunities across the world; we need dedicated agencies that can offer hands-on help to SMEs to move on international trade.
All these may sound an impossible dream, but these days, particularly in the background of the ongoing economic slowdown, in country after country we are seeing governments launching such initiatives to encourage more and more SMEs join the export bandwagon. We can do this too. This is a big challenge, but if we rise over it, we will get millions of new SMEs exporting, and this will surely help our economy embark on a successful global expansion drive.