Sameer Vakil, Co-Founder and CEO, DigiVation and GlobalLinker
Sameer Vakil is the Cofounder & CEO of DigiVation and GlobalLinker. GlobalLinker is branded by leading corporations and offered to their SME Clients & members, building potentially, the world largest small business community. Organisations offering GlobalLinker to their SME clients include MasterCard, Jet Airways, ICICI Bank and RAI (Retailers Association of India).
In conversation with Dominic Rebello, Sameer says, “The GST bill roll out in general terms has favoured and benefitted small and medium enterprises, when seen from a long-term perspective.”
What is the idea behind GlobalLinker?
Small & Medium Enterprises are the backbone of most economies. Yet this sector, which contributes in multiple ways, are severally challenged and disadvantaged owing to their small sizes and lack of economies of scale. GlobalLinker recognises this and is committed to leveraging digital capabilities of modern times and building on a wide range of partnerships to present SMEs and Start Ups, a business networking platform solution that addresses their big business dreams.
GlobalLinker delivers to SMEs and start ups a range of facilities and features that even larger corporations may not enjoy. Effectively, GlobalLinker seeks to level the playing field between SMEs and larger corporations so SMEs may grow their businesses and contribute even further to the economic and social fabric of societies and nations.
In doing so, GlobalLinker helps remove the traditional barriers faced by small businesses in terms of geography (most SMEs tend to be highly local due to their scale and access constraints); time zones; and languages. At the heart of GlobalLinker is a patented electronic business card (eBiz Card), which helps create a global business network of likeminded SMEs and start-ups. GlobalLinker allows SME’s to better manage their business; build new connections and gain from offers and deals required for their businesses, all on a single platform.
What is the impact of GST on SME sector?
The GST bill roll out in general terms has favoured and benefitted small and medium enterprises, when seen from a long-term perspective. With its introduction, GST has opened wider business opportunities for SMEs by eradicating duplication of effort, reducing the paperwork and administrative effort in managing tax related records.
In the initial phase of its roll out and earlier, we saw a combination of the classic resistance to change and the cumulative impact of a wide range of misinformation.
It was important that the correct information was passed to SMEs and the whole subject was demystified and, so we created a series of discussions on GlobalLinker using many subject matter experts, also from within the GlobalLinker community. As more SMEs start to see the real impact of GST, including the ability to trade nationally with greater ease and the ease of filing returns, and similarly as the Government starts to see the positive impact from improved tax collections and lower administrative costs in managing the system, the focus will shift to a more rational discussion around balanced and lower rates and we have already seen that process begun with the adjustment of rates of many items recently.
Any expansion plans?
GlobalLinker, like any new concept or solution will go through the adaption process and expansion cycle. Our expansion plans tend to be on three dimensions – (1) Industries and segments within a represented market or geography; (2) New geographies and languages; and (3) New or enhanced capabilities – fetures and benefits for SME members on the platform.
We are already represented in 4 industry categories in India and we believe we can see ourselves exanding this to leaders in about 15 industries over the next few years. In our international expansion, we are now present in three countries – India, Thailand (with a Thai version of the solution) and in Philippines.
How according to you can SME’s transform into emerging corporates?
Every corporation started as an idea and transformed itself into its current form over a period of time. We live in exciting times where starting a business of scale is no more the prerogative of people from wealthy families alone. Neither does it take as long as it did in the past to build and grow scale. To become big corporations SMEs must have big dreams and address large opportunities. Being committed to solving a significant pain point, doing so with a high degree of sincerity, building an efficient operating model and keeping ones ears to the ground are fundamental in working towards building such a corporation.
Where do you see yourself five years down the road?
We can see ourselves well on our way to building what will possibly be the worlds largest SME community; building a platform where several SMEs can see increased business growth being made simpler, more profitable and enjoyable; seeing the emergence of trade corridors of SMEs within and between countries; finally, we would like see us starting to make a significant impact to the social and economic development of a few countries by giving SMEs the ability to better deliver to their big business dreams.