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SMBs: Rising above the challenges

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Organised by Microsoft Office 365, The Completely Boss Challenge was India’s first platform to reward and celebrate outstanding business leaders from India’s thriving small and mid-market sector. Around 2500 CEOs from across seven cities (Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai) contested in first three rounds of the competition. The contest started with registered participants being evaluated on a quiz on knowledge and application-based questions, which was assigned weightage by QuizWorks, a leading quizzing company.

Phase 2, which was city prelims, included events in the seven cities. The top 50 finalists from each city participated in the next level: an on-ground contest. Three shortlisted candidates from each of these seven cities participated in the finals of The Completely Boss Challenge; finally, three all-India winners were selected.

While most SMB leaders find themselves entangled in the routine operational activities, the three winners of Microsoft’s Completely Boss Challenge presented a different story. The winners belonged to Sort India Enviro Solutions (a recycling and waste management company based out of Vadodara), Hyderabad-based Rohini Minerals (a manufacturer of cost-effective poultry and cattle feed) and Mumbai-based Neptunus Power Plant Services (a solution provider for engine-based industrial and marine power plants). And as a reward, they are all going to get support from Microsoft (on technology), LinkedIn (on talent), Moneycontrol.com (on media), WebChutney (on marketing), DOOR (on business consulting) and CRISIL SME Ratings (on knowledge) to develop a five-year robust business growth plan.

Prashant Gubba, owner of Gubba Cold Storage based out of Hyderabad and one of the finalists of the competition, said that it was exciting to participate in the event and it gave his company a platform to present its business. Echoing the same sentiment, another participant, Vishwas Kulkarni, director at Computer Home based out of Pune, felt that The Completely Boss Challenge is a perfect platform for his company to showcase its products and services and will help SMBs to attain greater heights.

The main criteria for choosing the winners were their business strength, competitive advantage, how better they manage it and the financial growth of the company. Paresh Tulsidas Parekh, founder of Sort India Enviro, said, “This has been a great experience for me and I’m glad to be amongst the top three winners. This unique platform will help us to scale our business and we are looking forward to working with the jury to prepare our five-year business growth plan.”

According to Gaddam Ranjith Reddy, managing director, Rohini Minerals, it was a tough competition wherein CEOs of midsize businesses gave their best shot. Uday Purohit, managing director of Neptunus, opined that Microsoft’s Completely Boss Challenge, targeted at the mid-market segment, is a great platform for SMBs to showcase their unique business models. “The competition opens up a whole new dimension for our business,” he said.

Ramkumar Pichai, GM – Microsoft Office Division, Microsoft Corporation India, said that the experience of interacting with the mid-market CEOs has been very exciting and fulfilling. “This clearly shows that the Indian market has tremendous potential and it is further validated by the capability of the entrepreneurs who have come for The Completely Boss Challenge. Unique business models, especially that of the winners, showcase immense potential to innovate and grow using technology to achieve competitive strength and business growth. These companies have developed a systematic innovation capability which assures them of a series of successes that deliver business value,” he said.

He also felt that programmes like The Completely Boss Challenge will enable SMBs to create, foster and grow innovative business models that have a positive impact on their communities and at the same time are crucial to India’s economic growth.