A Writer of his own Success Story

An Interview with Sandipan Ray, Founder & Director at SMBConnect

Sandipan Ray: Founder & Director of SMBConnect

The traditional definition of an entrepreneur falls short in describing Sandipan Ray's remarkable journey. Over the past two decades, he has not only become a prominent figure in the business world but has also achieved a level of expertise and ambition that sets him apart from his peers.

When he was shifting his business to the next level, a few bottlenecks wrapped his journey and handicapped the business growth. Despite searching far and wide for the solutions, it seemed tough going out there.

After numerous unsuccessful attempts and despite his utmost dedication to overcoming these challenges single-handedly, he came to the realization that these difficulties required the expertise of professionals who could provide him with the most effective strategies in various domains.

Mr.Ray's motivation to bridge the divide between leading corporations and SMEs by implementing essential solutions, coupled with his initial challenges and tireless dedication, has yielded significant rewards.

Having completed a successful five-year journey that has reached over 10,000 SMEs through 150 events across India, SMBConnect has established itself as India's premier integrated solution platform. It serves as a connecting and fortifying force for small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs throughout the country.

StartupCity pens down Mr.Ray's vision and his thoughts on SMBConnect's work culture and its successful journey.

What are the key ingredients which are spearheading SMBConnect's progress ahead of the others?

To achieve our motto, we work with three fundamental principles of Connect, Knowledge and Growth.

Connect – We organize our annual event, 'Start.Manage.Expand,' to establish a strong link between mentors and SMEs in India.

Knowledge – Through our annual events, advisory services, newsletters, blogs and social media, we provide mentoring on essential business know-how like skill development, risk reduction, capacity building, and financial management, to name a few.

Growth – After having established connections and awareness among the SMEs, we make these businesses ready for exponential growth because we believe every small can indeed be big!

How has been SMBConnect's journey so far?

At SMBConnect, we didn't reach our current position by adhering to conventional norms. We have carved our unique path, and as we persist in seeking innovative ways to advance our business and enhance client offerings further, we take immense pride in the milestones we've accomplished over the years..

We started SMBConnect in 2012, and since then, we have done 150 events. We have over a lakh of SMEs in our network and approximately 52 mentors. SMBConnectPragati and Master Class were two new initiatives we started last year

Provide us a glimpse of PRAGATI.

Through our latest advisory endeavor, PRAGATI (Professional Advisors, Growth Aggregators, Tech and Investment Experts), we aspire to extend our reach and connect with a broader spectrum of businesses. Our aim is to foster enduring relationships by providing mentorship and delivering concrete benefits to these enterprises.

To achieve our objective, we have embedded our fundamentals on the pillars of Start- Manage-Expand event series, MasterClass, Advisory Services, and B2B Collaboration.

Our business advisory services and a strong panel of service providers focus on delivering effective solutions for the smooth running of companies. Our motto is simple: "sharing knowledge to help SMEs to improve their internal and external value drivers for betterment."

How are SMBs benefitting from these initiatives?

At SMBConnect, we have been providing unique support to SMEs, young and women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses to the next level. With our series of events and other initiatives, we have contributed to creating the best SME ecosystem India has ever seen.

We can feel a huge excitement in the MSME sector with the possibilities and opportunities opening up. As part of our mission, we have effectively disseminated best practices, valuable information, and knowledge while also identifying and acknowledging businesses that have demonstrated remarkable achievements.

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What kinds of employee achievements are recognized by the company?

We have a range of both informal and formal recognition programs that align with our workplace culture and cater to the diverse needs and interests of our team members.

Well, there are town hall meetings or special events to celebrate our success at the end of a project, after the quarterly review, individual milestones, team milestones, birthdays, work anniversaries, and much more. 'Star of the Month' is awarded to our star performers.

Can you describe the environment here?

To sum it up, we at SMBConnect have dynamic work, a non-monotonous and start-up kind of culture with significant investment in employees. We are inculcating a culture of ownership and independence rather than having managers breathing down your neck.

The office environment encompasses interesting work, being in a high-growth area, looking at new ways of doing things, and experimenting.

Does the company have a stated set of cultural values for its employees?

At SMBConnect, we believe in and practice the following value set:

  • Accountability, Responsibility, and Authority – Acknowledging and assuming responsibility for actions, products, decisions, and policies.

  • Innovation and Continuous Improvement– We think out of the box, believe in innovative disruption in modern practices, and proactively find ways to do things better and faster.

  • Teaming and Collaboration– We believe in Teamwork and value each other's contribution. We concur with the fact that through open communication, we achieve exceptional results

  • Empowerment – Encouraging employees to take initiative and give their best.

What is the work-life balance like here?

At SMBConnect, we don't have a typical break room! We have created a social space and an open floor where employees can hang out with their coworkers for increased collaboration. There are flexible timings and the provision of appropriate leaves for employees to help them unwind and unplug.

What are the roadmap and plans of the company?

We at SMBConnect have been spearheading the cause, development, and progress of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in India since 2012. With Start Manage Expand series of events and conferences, we have brought together thought and policy leaders, policymakers, influencers, entrepreneurs, and global changemakers to associate with us.

As we gaze ahead, we at SMBConnect are embarking on new initiatives and charting our course by fostering supportive communities, implementing efficient solutions to engage with customers, offering advisory services, harnessing the power of training programs, and sharing the experiences of fellow businesses. All of these efforts are aimed at catalyzing entrepreneurship, promoting diversity, and fostering the growth of businesses.

We will also be conducting SMBConnect Awards for the Small and Emerging businesses to honour their resilience and innovation in their respective fields. Soon, our book dedicated to the Legends of the SME sector in India will be out soon, which are identifying and sharing the success and struggle stories of businesses that have made an impact in their field.

Identifying the key challenges of SMEs, Mr. Sandipan has closely worked with brands like Vodafone, Tata Docomo, Flipkart, DCB Bank, Kotak Bank, Tally, etc.

With a deep understanding of the challenges confronted by small and medium-sized businesses, coupled with a clear and compelling vision and mission, Mr. Ray, through SMBConnect, strives to unite all SMEs in India. His goal is to offer comprehensive solutions that help these businesses surmount obstacles, gain valuable insights, and propel their growth.

In 2016, Mr. Sandipan Ray, Director of SMBConnect, conferred the 'Small Enterprise Business Awards 2016' for servicing SMEs. He believes that determination, discipline, the right strategies, and proper guidance are the secrets to converting a small business into a large company.

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