One of the major issues debated in the international arena is how small firms can compete with their larger counterparts. The Recent focus on research on clustering concept has exemplified the power of collective efficiency of small firm clusters. It has been argued that clusters of MSMEs have an advantage of flexibility and responsiveness which enable them to be even more competitive than large firms. The concept of the 'Third Italy', coined by AmaldoBagnasco during the late 1970s drew attention to the rapid progress in the North-East region of Italy where clusters of MSMEs promoted fast non-agricultural employment. These clusters were able to establish a strong position in the world market in some so-called traditional products such as shoes, leather handbags, knitwear, furniture, tiles, musical instruments, food processing and also in the industries which supplied machinery to these sectors. The magic formula of having a proximity to raw material providers, equipment suppliers, component producers, sub-contractors and final goods manufacturers, together with a combination of intense rivalry among firms and cooperation in producers' associations seemed to work.
Globalization has brought within its fold increased knowledge-intensity across all economic activities. An increasing number of knowledge-intensive activities such as product design, process engineering, quality control, new management routines and organization of production is needed so that firms compete not only on prices but also through their ability to innovate. Innovation has thus become the keys to sustained competitiveness for MSMEs in a globalizing economy to achieve new efficiencies. Enterprise clusters and networks are of particular importance in developing countries
Apex Cluster Development Services Pvt. Ltd (ACDS) is mainly working Micro Small and Medium Enterprise ( MSME) space. In the last 12 years, there has been a special focus on MSMEs operating in industrial and artisanal clusters. ACDS has emerged as an expert Cluster Management & Development Research & consultancy organization. ACDS is well represented within Indian MSME domain.
The company's principal role is to increase awareness in the area of MSME's greatest challenges and pressure points and suitably capacitate MSMEs to face these challenges and to overcome these pressure points. There is a particular focus on clustering techniques through actual implementation and imbibing global benchmarks. This includes re-orientation and fostering the development of Business Development Services (BDS) to MSME clusters and integrating them with cluster development forces. The major tools to achieve this are awareness, training, advocacy, breaking of isolation of cluster based MSMEs, and most importantly, forging synergic growth processes of the cluster with that of the global sectoral changes.
ACDS is well represented at major locations within India like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, U.P., Punjab and NCR with the Head Office at New Delhi.
The company's principal role is to increase competitiveness and suitably capacitate MSMEs to face the challenges and to overcome the pressure points. There is a particular focus on aggregation techniques through actual implementation and imbibing global benchmarks. This includes re-orientation and fostering. The primary tools to achieve this are awareness, training, advocacy, breaking of isolation and most importantly, forging synergic growth processes of the cluster with that of the global sectoral changes.
Company has worked in the diverse fields of the empowerment and development of Artisans and MSMEs mainly for Local Economic Development, Cluster Development, Skill Development, ICT and E-governance, Strategic Marketing / Evangelizing, BDS Development Policy Review and Support, Diagnostic Study and Gap Assessment , Detailed Project Reports (DPR) Urbanization and industrialization, Monitoring and Evaluation of projects , Hand Holding Services.
Some of the cluster based Specialization of the company are :
1. Mapping of Industrial & Artisan MSME Clusters.
2. Cluster Development Implementing Services for Governments and Support Institutions (Industry Associations, and International donor institutions like the World Bank and ADB).
3. Creation of Conducive policy framework for Industrial MSMEs and artisans at National, regional and cluster level.
4. Creation of effective linkages of MSMEs with the cluster support actors like the BDS.
5. Using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a significant leveraging tool to create fast and efficient knowledge Corridors and networks through portals and other communication tools.
6. Creation of enabling ecosystem for MSMEs by capacity building of local support institution, removing market imperfection in the delivery of business development services.
7. Different forms of training, skill up gradation and sensitization are imparted to at least 1000 MSMEs every month under one-day programs.
8. Company also trains policy makers, and MSME change agents called Cluster Development Agents ( CDA).
Cluster Level Activities.
The cluster level activities of the company in its various project interventions have centered upon the following activities:
Diagnostic Studies and DPRs.
Preparation of Diagnostic Study and Business Plans and DPRs- ACDS since its inception has undertaken by itself and also guided diagnostic assessment/studies and DPRs in different clusters and worked for Government of Punjab, Central Silk Board, ADB, SIDBI World Bank, NMCC (Government of India).
Capacity Building of Local Associations.
Partnerships with active organizations/ associations in BDS Programme(s) Meetings, presentations &Focussed Group Discussions (FGDs) with cluster organizations (both BDS &Industry associations) hand holding of different industry associations in infrastructure development.
Implementation of Action Research.
Implementation of industry cluster-related projects. Implement cluster development project pan India and South East Asia including Sri Lanka Bangladesh, Cambodia. These projects are in diverse areas such as Business development Services, Information and Communication Technology and Infrastructure.
Business Development Services for MSMEs.
Creating business linkages of firms with various BDS providers. Involving lead BDS organizations in the project in different domains to trigger/induce BDS market-related transactions.
Creating knowledge base for MSMEs.
Creating cluster specific portals to empower MSMEs. Also, use of cluster portal and handbooks for information dissemination and BDS reach out for firms, prepared a prototype portal for MSME Ministry Government of India. Also running a portal on a repository of information on clusters. .
Facilitating ICT Adoption.
Working with MSMEs on ecosystem improvement, ICT skill building, and adoption of ICT tools by firms. This is done by documentation and strategy building for pilot activities to showcase Proof of Concept (POC) to other BDS/firms.
Thematic Workshops and Seminars.
Organizing workshop and seminars to sensitize on contemporary thematic issues useful for MSMEs like IPR and MSMEs, Competitiveness of MSMEs.
Documentation of Best Practice among MSMEs.
Published the number of books and papers on MSME experiences in the cluster including MSME schemes, energy, and environment, productivity, skill development courses, etc..
Policy Level Activities
ACDS has been intervening in some governmental initiatives involving Policy formulations and feedback. Major consultancy assignments in the Policy domain are highlighted as under:
MSME Schemes Inducement Workshop.
Conducted schemes inducement clinic under program scheme at cluster level in seven major industrial clusters for GIZ in partnership with local industry associations and MSME (DI) in 2012-13. Mobilized more than 100 applications from 500 participants and Capacitated Industry Association in MSME schemes.
Ayush Cluster Scheme- Ministry of Health, Government of India.
To harness the export potential of Herbal and Ayurvedic products, a cluster-based approach for Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy is in place. Many clusters for Ayush (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy) has been set up during the 11th Plan. The Scheme was based on the study done by ACDS on 20 cluster profiles in Ayush sector (Ayurvedic, Yunani, Unani, and Sidha, and Homeopathic medicines) in 2007.
Project Vikas-Microsoft, NMCC- Government of India.
ACDS in partnership with Microsoft prepared & presented strategy paper on the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), to improve the competitiveness of MSME industrial clusters in India, to National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC). Some of the deliverables suggested were E- Readiness Centers, PoCs linking firms with Local Software Vendors (LSVs), Cluster Portals, and E-Learning initiatives. The project was conceived in 2006 and adopted by NMCC and Microsoft and implemented in 7 industrial clusters in India by ACDS.
Scheme for Integrated Textiles Parks, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
The assignment in partnership with ILFS & Ministry of Textiles to review of Ministry's existing schemes and preparation of a more comprehensive scheme called Scheme for Integrated Textiles Parks (SITP). Information capsules on clusters were prepared including diagnostic of infrastructure related issues. An alternative model for a sustainable delivery mechanism for infrastructure facilities in the clusters was also developed, and comprehensive suggestions were also given. The scheme was prepared in 2005 and adopted by Government of India for the development of Textile infrastructure in India.
Cluster Development Policies in Cambodia- UNIDO Assignment.
The project related to 3 MSME cluster Locations within Cambodia and was directed towards an advisory role on SME and artisan development policies in Cambodia. Mr. Rajveer Singh, the Managing Director of the company, prepared a project document on cluster Value Chain based development for SMEs in Cambodia.
ACDS is Technical Agency to Implement SFURTI Scheme of KVIC. Submitted 6 PPRs to Nodal agency for approval from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
ABOUT THE MANAGING DIRECTOR
An economist and management professional with specialization in local industrial development, sub-sector-cluster based industrial development, and local economic policy. Awarded M.Phil in Industrial Economics from the JNU, New Delhi, India. Mr.Rajveer Singh has served national-international organizations and developmental institutions. He has worked as a key team member in the cluster development program of UNIDO and was appointed as an International expert on cluster-based industrial development for Cambodia.
He has served as a technical advisor in Gujarat and MP for the cluster-based development of MSMEs in these states. He has taken Institution building initiatives to ensure Industrial Development and integrated/ competent BDS across India and designed a scalable program based on the theme ICT for SMEs as PROJECT Vikas for Microsoft to improve their outreach to MSME's clusters all over India. He has served as a member (Working Group), in DST, Gol, under different committees for technology adoption among entrepreneurs. Currently, he is running cluster development program in MSME clusters in various parts in India .
DIRECTOR / DEVELOPMENT ADVISOR
Ms. Mansi Chaudhary
Director / Development Advisor
Mansi Chaudhary has worked in the area of local economic development, primarily focusing on
livelihood, women empowerment and poverty alleviation, by employing strategic planning and
implementation. Masters in Development and International Economics supplemented the field
experience as it facilitated with the technical skills required and acted as a catalyst equipping her to
take on a more complex subject matter. Whereas, the undergraduate studies (economics honors)
facilitated a better insight of long-term perspective of the development process at the grass root
level. competitiveness tools have become standard practice. Identifying local issues and offering a
practical solution for such challenges in a given local ecosystem is her core competence. The
livelihood assignments with craft communities involved interventions at different stages namely;
capacity building, training, microenterprise development and promoting micro and small enterprises
by connecting them to government support.
Livelihood and enterprise development through improved Business Development Services (BDS)
provision has been the key focus in Fruit and Vegetable Processing sector project in Pune. Women
were the principal participants in food processing value chain starting from the sorting, grading,
packing to production and marketing of the processed food products. Under SIDBI-DFID (UK)
funded project BDS enterprise from the community was established to serve best the needs of the
Off-farm handicraft and handloom sector interventions in Ludhiana Hosiery, Tirupur Knitwear,
Chanderi, Maheshwari handloom and handicraft were also carried out.
In the resource-poor and problematic regions, the central issue is the integration of the rural and
urban population in the value chain in a sustainable manner and creating an enabling ecosystem by
investing in human capital, creating infrastructure assets and enhancing access to markets.
Furthermore, to understand the traditional market and to facilitate apt solutions for the same. She
underwent a one-month training program with NOVICA.com, an E-commerce Company; wherein the
primary focus was the detailed study of modern channels of marketing. Enhancing access to the
market is the key component of the contemporary livelihood model. The training contributed towards
designing a distinct model that was able to mainstream craft products from local to national and
national to international market especially from the craft communities of handloom sector.
Recently, She has worked on World Bank and Khadi and Village Industries Commission projects,
respectively. The World Bank Project focused on conducting a sub-sectoral value chain analysis via
numerous field surveys as well as secondary research. Similarly; the project under Khadi and Village
Industries Commission concentrates on isolating the regional challenges that varied industries face
and further, joint action mapping is being carried to facilitate sustainable capacity building at the
grass root level.
Local economic development has been a core part of professional and personal learning of Mansi
Chaudhary. The regional economic scenario is a conglomeration of phenomenon experienced in
other regions of the world and regional economic disparities. Thus, economic development at a local
level cannot be altered by employing traditional economic theories, but unique regional challenges
require customized solutions.
The individual professional capacity that Mansi Chaudhary to offer encompasses adequate practical
as well as necessary technical knowledge that I have gained over the past 6-7 years by working
closely full-time and part-time with experts at Apex Cluster Development Private Limited.