In a recent webinar organised by the International Business Division (IBD) of the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), Indian business leaders suggest that the Uttar Pradesh state of India holds an abundance of opportunity that Singaporean SMEs can take advantage of when considering overseas expansion.

A prosperous region near the country’s capital city of New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh has a population larger than that of Brazil, and offers opportunities for the automotive industry, manufacturing and agriculture, noted Gautam Banerjee, chairman of the South Asia business group of the Singapore Business Federation; he is also chairman of Blackstone Singapore.

Singapore continues to be the largest source of foreign domestic investment in India. However, investors are generally far less familiar with Uttar Pradesh compared to the more well-known regions such as Tamil Nadu.

“It’s good that Singapore investors learn about a new place, a new territory, and we can then spread our wings further,” said Mr Banerjee.

He added that Singapore’s expertise in tertiary and vocational education can be exported to India, which has one of the largest populations of young people among major global economies.

Tay Lian Chew, global markets director for SEA at Enterprise Singapore (ESG) said the statutory board has three overseas centres in India, which have helped brands like Capitaland, Tong Gardens and Breadtalk expand to the country.

Together with Invest India, ESG has hosted a number of collaborations on opportunities in food processing, agri-sourcing, automotive, and electric vehicles. Other opportunities for collaboration lie in India’s startup scene and ecosystem. Just last year, ESG launched a Global Innovation Alliance with India in order to promote a two-way flow of startups and ecosystem players.

“Through this initiative, several virtual missions have been led, where Singapore startups were exposed to the rich startup ecosystem in India. This has helped them to access the market and funding there. We will also be linking up Indian startups who could benefit from Singapore’s ecosystem. We will be keen to work with startups and ecosystem players in Uttar Pradesh to explore similar collaborations,” said Mr Tay.

IBD Chairman, Prasoon Mukherjee, said that the organisation has been working closely with the SME community in Singapore in order to assist them in better understand the grants and financial aid available to help them through this crisis while continuing to encourage them to explore expanding into markets like India.

“We want the SMEs not to lose sight of the need to build resilience and lay the foundation for growth in the coming years,” Mr Mukherjee said.

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