Mangaluru: A panel discussion on “Smart City Mangaluru and Business Opportunities” was held at St Joseph Engineering College, Vamanjoor, Mangaluru on November 15, under the banner ‘COLLOQUY–18’. The event was jointly organized by the Department of Business Administration and Industry Interaction and the Entrepreneurship Development Cell (IIEDC) of the college.
The panel discussion offered participants the scope of setting up business ventures in the wake of Mangaulru becoming a ‘smart city’. Prof Lionel Aranha, Chartered Accountant and Advocate, chaired the session consisting of Annappa Pai, Director of Ace Foods Pvt Ltd, Mangaluru and President of DSIA, CA Abdur Rahman Musba, Head-Finance of Cardolite Specialty Chemicals India LLP, MSEZ, Mr Norbert M Shenoy, Financial Consultant, Arunanjali Securities and Ms Sulaj Kini, Partner of Bell Paints, as panelists.
Prof Lionel Aranha presented an overview of the growth of Mangaluru from a small town to a city. He highlighted upon the main strengths of the city in terms of infrastructure, educational services, banking services and quality of living. In spite of having all the facilities, youngsters don’t stay in Mangaluru.
Annappa Pai in his opening statement expressed that people of Mangaluru were always smart and now they are trying to make the city smart. He is the largest exporter of food products across the world and caters especially to Mangalureans who are abroad. He briefed about his experience in the business which has been running successfully for the last 48 years. He remarked that currently vegetables are sold in the malls and cars are sold on the roadside. Highlighting on the changes in the retail sector he classified it into door-to-door retailing, retailing at the signal, traditional neighbourhood retail outlets, supermarkets, hypermarket, online retail, WhatsApp and internet marketing. He advised that in this age of logistics, communication and technology, where you sit and do business has lost its relevance, how well you can do it, is important. He narrated his successful experience of promoting the iconic Kori Rotti of Mangaluru to the US markets. However, he added that success doesn’t come in one day, it only happens if you think, plan and act.
CA Abdur Rahman Musba in his opening statement highlighted on the prime requirements necessary to set up large industries in Mangaluru, the principal criterion being land with quality soil and drainage facility. However, acquisition of land is a hindrance in Mangaluru due to protests by the public. He mentioned about stable, continuous and quality power, quality of water and availability of materials. He added that skilled manpower is abundant here but not unskilled manpower. He pointed on the importance of government support in the form of incentives, subsidies and schemes for an industry. Further, he explained the necessity of testing facilities, waste disposal, logistics infrastructure, social infrastructure and safety of capital to attract large industries. He stressed on the need to promote Mangaluru and market its locational advantage. He shared his experience in convincing the management of Cardolite Specialty Chemicals, an MNC, to set up a unit in Mangaluru.
Sulaj Kini, a second generation entrepreneur briefed about the growth of her family business set up by her father. She shared her experiences about her learning and the decision to move from being a law graduate, from National Law School to venture into her family business. She explained that being an entrepreneur one has to learn everything there is about the business. The entrepreneur has to play different roles so that the operations must go on. She pointed out that being your own boss is much romanticized. There are opportunities as well losses in a business. To be an entrepreneur, one should have the hunger to be an entrepreneur. She advised participants to understand and educate oneself, as entrepreneurship is not a 9 to 5 job. She expressed her motivations for staying in Mangaluru. She opined that metro cities have reached saturation and there is life beyond your work which our city can offer. She encouraged students to venture into entrepreneurship.
Norbert M. Shenoy reflected on the concept of a smart city. He expressed that Manguluru is characterized by remittance economy, event management companies and catering business. With over four months of heavy rains, the ancestors realized that agriculture was not enough for a living and hence started the service industry. Banking, education and catering were the major successful services set up by the citizens of Mangaluru. However, he remarked that somewhere down the line, we have missed the spark. He elaborated that a smart city should have comprehensive holistic planning to make it vibrant, livable for youngsters and comfortable to senior citizens. The 20th century cities were marked by spreading of suburbs. However, the 21st century cities are characterized by clustering of knowledge workers leading to a creation of an ecosystem. He spoke about the opportunities available for youngsters, which lie in harnessing technologies like app development, platforms, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
The opening statements were followed by discussions based on the queries raised by the audience. Dr Prakash Pinto, Dean of MBA, Sathyendra Bhat, Chairperson of IIEDC and Dr Babitha Rohit, Coordinator, IIEDC were present for the event.