ICICI Bank, a private sector lending major, has tied hands with First Hive, a cross-channel marketing platform, has launched SME Empower, an online marketplace catering to small and medium enterprises, reported ET.
According to sources, the marketplace is open to all SMEs, including non-ICICI Bank customers.
Ajay Gupta, Head- Commercial Banking and SME, ICICI Bank said, “At ICICI Bank, we are committed to offer innovative products and services to our customers at speed and high level of convenience. The SME Empower platform further underscores our commitment to be a partner in growth to the SMEs by providing access to a large ecosystem of customers and suppliers.”
Over the years, the interaction between the customers and sellers has taken a tech-based turn as the e-commerce sector has ushered in a new era of conducting business in India.
As per industry estimates, the e-commerce market in India is growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32% and is expected to grow to a market of $1.2 trillion by 2021 from the current $200 billion.
Furthermore, as the report suggests, the online B2B market is set to become six times than B2C e-commerce.
Given that there are about 42.5 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India which have 95% of the industrial units and employ 40% of the country’s workforce, it is safe to say that MSMEs will be the driving force that facilitate this rise.
MSMEs are crucial for India’s economic development given their tremendous contributions to domestic production and export earnings and their comparatively low investment requirements.
The need of the hour, then, is to give impetus to online networking platforms catering exclusively to MSMEs that allow a B2B exchange of goods.