According to VeriSign, over five million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) go online in the next three to five years, which holds a potential of $5 billion business in India.
"There is a huge opportunity for starting online ventures in the SME space. Only 5 lakh SME units have an online presence in the country at present," said Kartik Taneja, head of India and SAARC business & government relations. There are only 2 million domain names in the country, which is less than 2% of the total net users at present.
Taneja was addressing the students of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and other business schools at the second day of Confluence 2011.
The second day of the annual business summit also featured three speakers from the field of public policy and social change - Bhavarlal Jain, founder and chairman of Jain Irrigation; Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, journalist and educator; and Satish Jha, current president and chief executive officer of One Laptop per Child India Foundation.
Jain spoke about the challenges in implementing drip irrigation and his experience in educating farmers about the benefits of this superior mode of irrigation. "While my company is not in the Fortune 500, it is among the fortunate 50 companies, fortunate enough to be able to contribute to social change" Jain said.
Jha spoke extensively about the potential of one laptop per child policy to revolutionize learning in India. "The time a child loses in getting educated does not come back and hence it is necessary to reach out to each and every child as soon as possible," Jha said. Thakurta spoke candidly about the state of affairs of the media in India.
IIMA introduced a new event this year called 'Beyond the Case', which asked its five finalists to set up actual 6X6 feet stores at a mall in Ahmedabad and sell merchandise. Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) provided merchandise made by its workers consisting of handicrafts and teams competed to sell these. The event replicated the actual world of business as teams had to bid for the location of their stores, determine the product mix, decorate and brand their store as well as set the price for products.