With 24 entrepreneurs on board, Xcelerator Ludhiana to turbostart the industrial hub’s growth as a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem

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Ludhiana is Asia’s largest hub for bicycle manufacturing, and accounts for more than 50 percent of India’s bicycle consumption of 10 million+ each year. It is also one of the largest manufacturers of domestic sewing machines and a key manufacturing hub of auto and two-wheeler parts for global automotive players. In addition, it is also home to some of the most popular woolen apparel brands in India. In addition to some of the biggest businesses calling Ludhiana home, it is also the epicenter for thousands of micro, small and medium enterprises across industrial goods, machine parts, auto parts, household appliances, hosiery, apparel, garments, among others. As one of India's largest industrial hubs, Ludhiana accounted for 19.1 percent of Punjab’s employment, according to 2014 government statistics. While that number is likely to have seen some change in the last six years, Ludhiana’s moniker as the industrial capital of Punjab remains undebated.

Ludhiana 2.0 in the making

The presence of a thriving SME economy provides an opportunity to transform Ludhiana from a key industrial hub to a robust local entrepreneurial ecosystem, believes Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship (GAME). An alliance of mission-aligned partners, GAME has been working towards creating a thriving environment for mass entrepreneurship in India since its inception in 2018. The organisation is on a mission to create 10 million entrepreneurs and thereby 50 million jobs by focusing on ‘the missing middle’ - the Small-to-Medium Enterprises. Here, Ludhiana presented a fertile ground. The organisation believes that Ludhiana’s rich heritage and already existing resources provide an opportunity for the local entrepreneurial ecosystem to come together to support growing businesses of Ludhiana and help them compete at a global scale.

Addressing Challenges with a 3C focus

Access to credit, availability of local resources, local infrastructure, market linkages, existing talent, among others have been perennial challenges that have been inhibiting the growth of SMEs in the region. However, conversations with Ludhiana’s MSMEs reveal that in addition to these challenges, entrepreneurs are finding it increasingly difficult to attract high-quality team members, identify new opportunities, and bring in organisational professionalism into the work culture.

To address these challenges, boost the local entrepreneurship ecosystem growth and create a scalable and replicable model to boost MSME growth GAME, in partnership with the Government of Punjab and Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), announced the launch of Xcelerator Ludhiana in August 2020.

Xcelerator Ludhiana is a curated small business accelerator programme to support promising growth enterprises across sectors in Ludhiana and help them achieve increased productivity, efficiency and profitability. The programme has been designed as a step ahead towards boosting local entrepreneurship ecosystem growth in the district. But that’s not all. It is believed that the programme will lead to the creation of prototypes in Ludhiana as well as provide data and facts of the potential growth to other entrepreneurs and stakeholders across the entire state.

With the first pilot of Xcelerator Ludhiana the aim is to understand the levers of business growth for businesses in India. The model is thus then expected to pave the way to be replicated across Punjab, and learnings shared with local ecosystem stakeholders to help build capacity for addressing challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the local region.

The Xcelerator Ludhiana programme will focus on helping growing businesses in Ludhiana become more productive and inefficient through a focus on 3Cs - Customer, Cash and Capacity. By understanding existing successful business frameworks from experts and by interacting with other successful businesses, the Xcelerator Ludhiana cohort will be able to transform how they operate their businesses as well as work towards scaling it to the next level.

The programme is a combination of various mentoring, formal, expert and peer-to-peer learning sessions spread over six months. With specific focus on the three 3Cs, the programme will bring in expert guidance in the areas of sales, marketing and branding, cash flow management and financial planning, organisational management, and growth planning. The curriculum is also focussed on actionable takeaways and practical learning experience so that the entrepreneurs can start implementing their learnings from the programme to their businesses from Day 1.

Today, the programme has selected 24 entrepreneurs who, apart from having strong business financials, have a potential for growth and have exhibited willingness to learn and transform their businesses. GAME believes these entrepreneurs are already on a growth trajectory and the accelerator programme will not just turbocharge this journey but also shine the spotlight on these “role models” to accelerate the entrepreneurial potential of Ludhiana.

Xcelerator Ludhiana is all set to take off on January 5, 2021, and the weeks to come will see entrepreneurs attending the bootcamp, mentoring sessions, peer-to-peer sessions and networking sessions with bankers, government officials, and corporates to learn about the levers of business growth, leadership, team-building, process capability enhancement, and skills required to grow their business. The programme, which has been co-designed and led by leading industry experts, bureaucrats, academicians, entrepreneurs, trade association leaders, experts from banks and financial institutions, representatives from the local entrepreneurship ecosystem and the Government of Punjab, will play a pivotal role in tapping into the potential of Ludhiana’s entrepreneurial strength and leveraging that to further growth at scale.

Over the coming weeks, we'll take you through the stories of these 24 promising entrepreneurs from Xcelerator Ludhiana. Watch this space for more details!


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