While they weren’t here physically, the Indian companies that had their products on display by proxy in Atlanta represented a diverse array of firms aiming for an “in” here in the U.S.
For DV Venkatagiri, the organizer of the “catalogue show” that saw their brochures scattered across circular tables at a Roswell hotel, the two-day event showed how eager Indian firms are to conquer the chicken-and-egg problem of entering the U.S. market: They need sales to justify a presence, but those are hard to generate from across the world.
Enter Mr. Venkatagiri’s firm — The Global Trade Driver — which has been persistent in its goal of building a conduit for Indian companies to Atlanta over the last few years. But momentum has been slow, likely because of his target market: India’s micro, small and medium enterprises. In other words, those that have few resources for going global. Even if their U.S. market potential is clear, it’s not easy to break into established channels or to overcome regulatory barriers.
Based in the south Indian industrial powerhouse of Chennai, Mr. Venkatagiri hopes to generate interest on the Atlanta end to encourage more Indian firms to explore the Southeast U.S., which he sees as the country’s most receptive region — with a large Indian community and a strong and growing economic base. That’s been his mission since he branched out on his own after a stint at the Tamil Nadu branch of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
He plans to bring a delegation of companies to Atlanta in September to gain training on market entry at the University of West Georgia.
“Indian and U.S. companies, particularly the small and mid-sized ones, have huge opportunity to work together for mutual benefit,” Mr. Venkatagiri wrote in a booklet produced for the catalogue show. “What is required is a consistent and standard flow of information through trustworthy channels.”
Among the firms displayed were granite producer GEM, whose products are installed in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and many others supplying goods like leather, home goods, textiles, ayurvedic health supplements, auto parts and engineered products, real estate listings and much more.
Many Indian business leaders and economic development organizations sent letters of support for Mr. Venkatagiri’s show.
He hopes to showcase Georgia products during catalogue shows in Mumbai and Chennai in November 2017 and January 2018, respectively, he told Global Atlanta.
“U.S. exports to India are growing much faster than India’s exports to the U.S. Indo-U.S. Business needs to grow much faster to realize the full potential. The Global Trade Driver is a two-way trade and investment promoter.”