Pune project team and company delegation.

IndianBusiness Culture: Seeing is believing

A delegation of 16 Swedish companies visited India recently for a week-long trip as part of the ISIA programme.

The first day, 27 November, Pawan Tahlani from Business Sweden and Dinesh Ghai of the Indian Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) talked about Indian business culture and what companies can expect.

The ISIA programme is aimed at supporting Swedish companies that have energy solutions and want to start doing business in the Indian market. What is offered within the programme, with the help of local organizations Business Sweden and CII, is market understanding, networking, prepared meetings for partnerships and collaborations of various kinds with selected Indian companies and organizations.

Local presence is critical

Transmitting Indian business culture is very important as it differs significantly from what Swedish companies are used to.

It may take several years before a company can succeed in getting its first business in India, which sometimes feels hopeless. Later, things may happen fast. ‘Seeing is believing’ is the key. If companies have reference installations they can talk about and put in a context, there is immediately an interest. In addition, if they can convey that their solutions are flexible and can be adapted to the Indian market, they are another step closer to the market. Throughout this process, ISIA contributes with the perseverance and organization that is necessary.

Companies pitch their energy solutions

Day two on the trip, November 28, was organized by CII and started with 11 companies presenting their energy solutions to specially invited Indian companies that might be interested in investing in or collaborating on energy solutions. The presentations were followed by speed meetings. The meetings help filter possible contacts and also provide a crash course in business culture as well as market needs and conditions. These are individual meetings with potential customers that CII have booked for each company based on the Indian company’s need for energy solution.

Valuable knowledge exchange within the programme

The companies in the programme have the opportunity to participate in three delegation trips, which means that senior companies are mixed with new entrants. This provides an automatic transfer of knowledge between companies, which can sometimes also lead to new partnerships.

“Take the opportunity to use the help offered within the ISIA programme, because it will be your kick-start on the Indian market,” says Henrik Johansson, CEO of Spowdi.

Spowdi made its final delegation trip within the ISIA programme. However, it is not uncommon for companies to return to the activities and travel also after their introduction. Alumni are welcome to participate in the programme organized by the Swedish Energy Agency, and several choose to do so when they see that there is a value in participating. However, they must bear all their costs themselves.

“We always put the most effort into the latest companies. But it is of course fun to follow them later in their development, to meet them again and to help with priority meetings,” says Ludvig Lindström.

“We have found that there is value in keeping together the group of companies that choose to continue their work in India. As a part of this, we have opened Sustainability by Sweden – Showroom India, to showcase the companies that choose to carry on.

Josephine Bahr Ljungdell opening the session in Delhi.
Business men with laptops during speed business meetings in Delhi.
Pune project launch ceremonie, lightning the lamp.