How can SMEs Leverage the Cloud to Build Meaningful Communities?

1. Importance of SMEs and start-ups 

SMEs are one of the fastest growing sectors contributing to India's economic growth. A deep dive into data shows that SMEs contribute around 30% to India’s GDP, employ over 11 crore people and constitute about 40% of total exports from India. Most SMEs in India are located in rural India and the Indian government has been putting strategies in place to further this growth within the SME sector. SMEs play a vital role in the growth of the economy in India, contributing to the social and economic development of the country. SMEs are one of the largest sources of employment (6 crore people employed in the rural parts of India) after agriculture in India. 

India is recognized for having the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world. In 2018, India it was reported that India had about 50,000 start-ups. 8,900-9,300 of these were technology-led start-ups. This led India to be added to the league of top 50 innovative economies. The emerging start-up culture in India contributes to economic prosperity which furthers the growth of the Indian economy. Indian start-ups are gradually progressing and evolved into the global market in the past few years. The growth of start-ups in the Indian economy has contributed to higher employment rates. The start-up ecosystem in India has helped promote small businesses in both rural and urban areas. This leads to the development of different sectors such as education, infrastructure, health, etc.

As SMEs and start-ups come together to create a digital community leveraging the cloud; they can increase their business agility, gain control and insights, and support business growth. 

  1. Increasing business agility- SMEs and start-ups can leverage an ERP system with industry-specific capabilities and best practices.
  2. Gain control and insights- SMEs and start-ups can get clear visibility and complete control over every aspect of their small businesses.
  3. Support business growth- SMEs and start-ups can experience a comprehensive cloud solution enabled by business processes in a quick-to-implement package.

2. Examples of startups benefiting from the community 

We live in a country that birthed Bollywood. In India the assumption is that there are only 3 paths one can follow to make your mark in the world of success; cricket, Bollywood, or kickstarting a start-up. Out of these 3, the one that sat well with my strengths was contributing towards the start-up ecosystem. And the insights I have gained by being in the business of storytelling have not only helped the community but also helped me grow as an entrepreneur. One of the starkest trends in the startup ecosystem was the realization that traditional movie stars may have 10-15 million followers on social media platforms but upcoming influencers are the ones who hold the sense of community strong. The same community was lacking in the business world and this can be observed by taking a closer look into how fintech startups like Paytm have ten times the amount of influence over a traditional bank. And that's where the power of startups lies, the sense of community is what people look out for in every aspect of life. 

3. Importance of community and start-ups 

Communities are emerging rapidly in the start-up world. Entrepreneurs and businesses are recognizing the importance of community development. Being a part of the community is one of the quickest ways for start-ups to launch and sell their products. Businesses and entrepreneurs should create a community first as this spearheads the marketing process through word of mouth. Leveraging the benefits of being a part of the community gives you access to valuable resources on how to grow your business and what features to focus on first. Businesses and entrepreneurs need to know the difference between building an audience and building a community. While building a community the focus evolves from a single individual to a group where members can collaborate, contribute and participate in something collectively. Being a part of the community helps you create a space to work with other people to further innovate on your product/service as well as build them. This gives the community a chance to flourish and grow together, and create a culture of like-minded people. 

4. What inspired Azaan to start HUB. How it helps 

When I first stepped into the world of business, I started to notice that the sense of community amongst entrepreneurs and creatives was lacking. This is what inspired me to start ‘The Hub’ at the age of 22. I ideated a space that could bring communities together, shared spaces that could foster this sense of community across physical and digital worlds. I further wanted to explore the future of community spaces at ‘The Hub Co’ by providing creative spaces for co-living and co-working, a space for events, and a dedicated creator studio. We have moved into the digital space by building a digital community platform for brands and creators to collaborate and ideate together. We pride ourselves on how we help spark collaborations between upcoming creators and mission-driven local brands through our creative agency & media house under ‘The Hub’ Bengaluru. 

5. GF 50,000 members and potential 

The Growth Matters Forum has over 50,000 members and is rapidly growing to give SMEs and start-ups the space to take their creativity and work to a digital space by leveraging the cloud. By educating the workforce and giving businesses the space to connect and create a community, The Growth Matters Forum will flourish into a fully supportive community of talent from all across the globe. By moving these spaces to a digital platform, SMEs and start-ups are not limiting their workforce to being in a physical space to interact with others in the same field. It gives SMEs and start-ups the tools to interact and grow their network. By networking, SMEs and start-ups can further understand the pulse of their audience and find methods that work best within their industry. It will give entrepreneurs a space to create deals as well as share ideas on how to run their organizations smoothly and how they can further contribute to the economy in India. As SMEs and start-ups grow, the founders and workforce will also grow together.