US-India Forum looks to sell American Dream to Indian SMEs

By Praveen Bose on May 18, 2015


Counts 50-odd firms among its members; in talks with banks to extend loans.

The US-India Investors Forum (USIIF), a platform to introduce US and Indian companies and facilitate new business opportunities, is set to expand its services to south India. It has been formed with the support of the US Consulate and US Commercial Service.

USIIF, which has 50 members till now, is launching its South India chapter on May 20 in Bengaluru. It will then take its chapters to Hyderabad and Chennai.

In the city, its focus is on biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, agricultural technologies, IT and health care, among other manufacturing companies, including SMEs in aerospace industry. There’s also interest from many players in the education sectors who are keen on going abroad to invest or sell their products and USIIF hopes to handhold many of them too.

USIIF being a liaison between the Indian and US companies, aims to serve as a link between business and government leaders, thus resulting in increased trade and investment.

As trade benefits all, as proved by Daniel Ricardo in his theory in 1817, USIIF wants to take the message to the SMEs here. But one problem that worries the SMEs is that of building relationship with banks. This is where USIIF is in talks with several Indian banks to help SMEs build relationship with banks. The banks will underwrite loans, and then the US banks will extend loans to the SMEs, said Shital Kapoor, director, USIIF.

“Indian SMEs are now focussed mostly on the Indian market. We can open up a whole new market for them. We can help open up half the world for them,” said Kapoor. The NAFTA market, made of the whole of North America, she added will be automatically be open for them.

However, according to USIIF, the main problem of the Indian businessmen is their inability to sell themselves. While, self-marketing comes naturally to an American, we Indians are not good at that, added Kapoor. Hence, the forum has a course for the small businesses on selling themselves in the US, and for this it charges its members a fee.

"When you sit across a table trying to sell yourself to the US government officials, or US businessmen, you need to know how to sell yourself," Kapoor added.

“We will handhold the SMEs in South India wanting to go to the US," said Pavan Kumar, vice-president, South India chapter, USIIF.

Currently, USIIF is studying the industries that it needs to focus on in Hyderabad and Chennai, though its industry agnostic.

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