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Last updated: 24 Dec, 2019  

Mudras.9.Thmb.jpg Exhibitions most effective tool for SMEs: UBM India MD

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SME Times News Bureau | 24 Dec, 2019

In an exclusive interview with SME Times, Yogesh Mudras, MD of UBM India, the country’s leading exhibition organizer of B2B exhibitions, said exhibitions are the most effective tool for SMEs in the public and private sector, as they play the role of a catalyst for the progress and vision of the respective industry and nation, by constantly providing platforms for industry players to collectively ideate, innovate and sport trends in India’s ecosystem.

Excerpts of the interview …

Please tell us about UBM India and its entrepreneurial journey?
Yogesh Mudras: UBM India is the country’s leading B2B exhibition organizer, deriving its value through its rich worldwide and Asian legacy. Since its establishment in 2006, UBM India has risen magnificently to the challenges and changes in India’s socio-economic landscape, and hasn’t just stopped there. Through the experience garnered, we now host over 25 large scale exhibitions, 40 conferences in 16 different verticals and 7 industry awards each year in harmony with the organization’s vision to be an innovator, a community builder and one that intricately connects people and industries through its initiatives and events.

Over the span of 12 years, we have enabled trade across multiple industry verticals including Pharma & Bio Pharma, Travel, Tourism, Food & Hospitality, Renewable & Nuclear Energy, Jewellery & Gem, Safety & Security, Construction & Building, Beauty & Lifestyle and Occupational Health & Safety, amongst others. While the requirements and verticals are different, the objective is the same; to provide a professional realm for exhibitors, key delegates, business experts, and visitors to connect, network, share knowledge and associate with each other in a bid to enter into potential, strategic tie-ups.

UBM is now a part of Informa Plc, becoming the largest exhibitions organizer around the world with a market cap of £10bn and 11,000 team members which will help us add to the experience our attendees have at our exhibitions. Driven by a culture of growth, UBM has always looked at broadening its businesses, be it organically or through acquisition. This growth strategy keeps the organisation agile and ready to face the future confidently, while at one reshaping customer experience.

How and in which areas you help MSMEs to take part in exhibitions?
Yogesh Mudras: As mentioned earlier, UBM India operates across multiple industry verticals and niche segments.

MSMEs within these industries take part in our exhibitions either as exhibitors or visitors. Through their participation, they’re exposed to an international audience and an array of technological and innovative advancements, which micro organizations may not be aware of or have access to, due to their business scale and capabilities.

The number of SMEs is estimated to be around 42.50 million in India, employing about 106 million people, making them key players in the economy and the wider eco-system of firms. We believe in enabling them to adapt and thrive in a more open environment and participate more actively in the digital transformation which is essential to boost economic growth and deliver a more inclusive globalisation.

For instance, UBM India’s trade exhibitions support MSMEs through the inclusion of features such as special pavilions for them, along with the presence of venture capital firms to provide seed investments for captivating ideas, job fairs and insightful seminars by industry thought leaders. Our Industry awards also handpick, recognize and reward fledgling organizations for innovations and excellence and help publicise the work being done by their sectors at large.

What is the importance of SMEs to take part in exhibitions?
Yogesh Mudras: Exhibitions are the most effective tool for SMEs in the public and private sector, as they play the role of a catalyst for the progress and vision of the respective industry and nation, by constantly providing platforms for industry players to collectively ideate, innovate and sport trends in India’s ecosystem. Every year, multiple trade shows are organized in India, giving SMEs an opportunity to showcase their products and services to key players in the industry while generating multitude of leads and deals. Besides, meeting industry leaders can facilitate exchange of ideas and knowledge and which can lead to visions and projects that may give a new spin to these organizations.

Isn't it bit costly for SMEs to take part in such events, compared to other forms of promotions?
Yogesh Mudras: It is true that exhibitions can be an expensive tool for small businesses, even though they provide a platform for companies to engage and meet potential customers face-to-face. It is therefore important to take time in due diligence to strategically plan the costs for marketing at a chosen trade show. After all, to be ahead of competition and add value to their offerings, exhibitions are a marketing tool that cannot be ignored as they generate approximately 10x more impact on the business of the companies.

Besides, the Government of India is also keen to increase their participation at exhibitions by introducing several schemes in the SME industry, touted to be a $25.8 billion market for emerging technologies by 2020, and currently employing 40 per cent of the Indian workforce, second only to the agricultural sector. The National Small Industries Corporation under Ministry of MSME provides a scheme for organizing and participating in exhibitions and supports co-sponsoring of it. Through the scheme, exhibitors who are engaged in the promotion & development of MSME will also be provided with space at exhibitions at subsidized rates.

To play our bit in the augmentation of this industry, UBM India, features dedicated pavilions for the SMEs and start-ups and also provide various engagement platforms for them to showcase their offerings to the venture capital firms participating at our expos in order to provide seed funding for attractive and engaging ideas. As facilitators, we seek to play a proactive role in enabling these smaller, fledgling organisations drive key governmental initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Start-Up India, Stand Up India’, and ‘Skill India’, connecting the global community to bring out solutions to challenges, and establish superior standards within it.

In the larger context, the cost incurred for participating in an exhibition is a very small portion of what could lead to be a big business driver through quality interactions and showcasing the company’s products first hand to the who’s who of industry and thus facilitating growth.

Does direct customer contact give a boost to SME prospects in such events?
Yogesh Mudras: Direct contact with your target audience still makes a huge difference compared to emails and cold calling, especially in India. Although B2B exhibitions are BTL marketing activities, they provide a realm for face-to-face interactions, encouraging comprehensive customer engagements, paving the way for collaborations, trust and voluminous business deals. Exhibitions organizers are also going out of their way to add more value and features to these interfaces. For instance, not only do our shows provide space for exhibitors to showcase products, but also cater to their needs by hosting Buyer-Seller Meets. Recently, UBM India through one of its signature shows, IFSEC India, introduced a novel concept with the creation of the Regalia Lounge, an exclusive 5-star lounge that aimed to encourage vital interactions between key exhibitors and big ticket buyers on a ‘By Invitation Only’ basis to very impressive results. These add the exclusive and formidable touch to buyer-seller face to face interactions.

With opportunities for partnership and exposure to global brands, these companies, no doubt have a lucrative chance to test domestic and international waters. We facilitate B2B meetings for companies and professionals to maximize the time our visitors and exhibitors spend on the show floor.

Please share your future plans with our readers.
Yogesh Mudras: 2018 was one of our busiest years with the launch of 5 preview shows catering to Beauty and cosmetics, jewellery, food and hospitality and packaging along with three due diligence initiatives.

Post the combination of UBM and Informa, a new vertical; Maritime with the INMEX SMM India expo has been an addition to our portfolio this year, and we are looking forward to expanding our wings to the SAARC region by launching two new shows in Bangladesh; OSH & IFSEC. Through this merger, we will always be on the lookout for new show launches, developments and interesting initiatives that can benefit the industry and boost the Indian economy.

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