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Study Offers Solutions to Help India Small Business Adopt Technology, Spur Growth

Slowed by barriers that keep them from adopting new technology, India’s micro and small enterprises are hindered in their ability to compete and grow. Those are among the results of a new study published by Intuit Inc., a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for small and medium-sized businesses.

The findings, based on original research across 12 cities in India, also identify important opportunities for government, industry and nonprofits to collaborate on solutions that increase technology adoption and lead to better outcomes for micro and small businesses’ futures.

This study was supported by the Government of India’s Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, the National Institute of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development, and the National Small Industries Corporation. Results were released at an event hosted by government and business leaders, who discussed the effect the national research will have on policymaking and future programmes to help micro and small businesses succeed.

Existing Challenges

The study sought to identify and understand challenges facing small businesses and to offer solutions to help them adopt technology. It uncovered five barriers to technology adoption among India’s MSME community:

-- Cost.
-- Lack of skilled labor and other resources needed to adopt technology.
-- Lack of awareness around the benefits of technology, and doubts about the “return on investment” from adopting technology.
-- Questions on privacy and data security.
-- Concerns over the reliability of infrastructure, namely broadband and connectivity.

The findings were drawn from in-depth interviews with 748 micro and small businesses across 12 cities in India. The research started with a qualitative study that assessed how 20 micro and small businesses in four cities used technology and identify possible barriers to technology adoption. These conversations reflected Intuit’s “Follow Me Home” customer research methodology that combines a mix of both observation and conversation to understand the true nature of small business challenges. A follow-up quantitative survey asked 728 small businesses in eight cities to test these barriers and explore short- and long-term solutions.

Solutions Identified

Based on this research the study offered a series of recommendations for multiple stakeholders in the small business ecosystem, including industry, government and nongovernmental organizations, to address these challenges and increase technology adoption among MSMEs. Examples include

-- Making affordable technology solutions more accessible to end-users through government credits or easy financing options, such as pay-as-you-go or installment plans.
-- Focusing on campaigns that leverage case studies around the return on investment of newer technologies for small businesses, including cloud solutions.
-- Designing training programs that address key skill gaps throughout the supply chain.

Participants’ Quotes

During his opening remarks at the launch, Nikhil Arora, Intuit India’s Vice President and Managing Director, said, “Intuit is focused on the success of small businesses around the world. In India, the MSME sector is second only to the agriculture sector in size and makes up almost 9 percent of India’s GDP and 40 percent of its exports. Faster and massive adoption of cloud solutions and mobile technology will play a crucial role in helping MSMEs win and succeed in India. With the support of the Ministry’s leadership, together companies, training organizations and other non-profits that serve small businesses, as well as the small businesses themselves, can bring about changes that will help jumpstart the way small businesses grow and thrive in a competitive global marketplace.”

In his keynote address at the launch event, Shri Amarendra Sinha, Additional Secretary and Development Commissioner, Ministry of MSME said, “The Indian micro and small business sector has the potential to truly drive the future growth and prosperity of India and improve the lives of millions. Achieving this crucial objective requires improving MSMEs’ ability to access financing and adopt new technologies. Collaborative initiatives such as this Intuit-led study help us better understand the pain points the sector faces and the impact our existing and future policies will have on the sector at large. We hope this discussion leads to an ongoing dialogue about how together government, industry and the non-profit sectors can jointly address challenges and create opportunities for MSME growth.”

Other Ministry officials participating in the launch event included Shri C.K. Mishra, Joint Secretary, Ministry of MSME, who addressed the event during the panel session, highlighting the impact the national research will have on policymaking and future programmes to help micro and small businesses succeed.

To download the study “Understanding and Overcoming Barriers to Technology Adoption Among India’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises: Building a Roadmap to Bridge the Digital Divide”, visit www.intuit.in/msmestudy.html

Intuit in India

The company’s first venture in Asia Pacific, Intuit has been in India since 2005, currently employing more than 600 employees across offices in Bangalore and Mumbai and New Delhi. The company has been recognized as an employer of choice in India: as 2nd best company for Rewards and Recognition, 6th Best Employer in India, among the Top 25 Best Employers in Asia and 8th among the Top 10 Great Places to Work (2012) in India. More information can be found at www.intuit.in

About Intuit Inc.

Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) is a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses; financial institutions, including banks and credit unions; consumers and accounting professionals. Its flagship products and services, including QuickBooks®, Quicken® and TurboTax®, simplify small business management and payroll processing, personal finance, and tax preparation and filing. ProSeries® and Lacerte® are Intuit's leading tax preparation offerings for professional accountants. Intuit Financial Services helps banks and credit unions grow by providing on-demand solutions and services that make it easier for consumers and businesses to manage their money.

Founded in 1983, Intuit had annual revenue of $3.9 billion in its fiscal year 2011. The company has approximately 8,000 employees with major offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and other locations. More information can be found at www.intuit.com

To view the photograph, please click on the link given below:
From Left to right- Nikhil Arora, Vice President and Managing Director, Intuit India; Kiran Karnik, Former President, NASSCOM; and Shri Amarendra Sinha, Additional Secretary and Development Commissioner, Ministry of MSME, officially unveil the policy whitepaper findings.
 
 
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