While we and the world talk about Indian IT, Indian BPOs, our growing global competitiveness and our expanding local consumerism, we usually fail to recognise other industries and indicators of potential.
In the last year or so, I've spent a lot of time studying the Indian economy and its various industries - and have discovered a whole new world of potential and opportunity - in areas we take for granted (like hospitality and construction), as well as in places you would not expect (our sewage for instance!).
I am talking about companies that have grown from nothing, with nothing to back them except the ideas and passion of their owners. I'm talking about entrepreneuers who have toiled silently over the years, and have gained success to become market leaders in their fields, without most people even knowing they even exist!
To my mind they're the hidden gems of India, which when polished will shine out bright not just in India - but in the world as well.
Most of them are around 10-15 years old (Note to myself: I must study the social and economic climate in those days to see what were the triggers). Today, they've attained a critical mass and have reached a tipping point - where with minor tweaking and adjustment in either infrastructure, positioning, or communication, they will rise out of anonymity into certain fame in the years to come.
Here are some random choices:
InterGlobe - established in 1989 as a travel agent, InterGlobe is today one of the leading companies in airline and aviation management, travel related services, travel technology (including a BPO), and hotel management. It not only manages over 15 of the world's leading airlines in India, it has now entered the fast growing area of cruise-lines in India. To top it all, InterGlobe recently launched an ailine called IndiGo, and placed an order of 100 aircraft from Airbus! With the two-way traffic of business and leisure travellers growing faster than our population, any guesses if these guys are in the right business?!!
Enhanced WAPP - Started in 1996 by IITian Rajesh Jain, WAPP is today a relatively successful (and market leader in some cities) company in water and waste management in India. Water and waste are such a problem in India, and essential to the success of any civilisation - there's no doubt you've got to watch out for this company being flush with success!
Spectral Services - Ever wondered how a century old luxury hotel can run smoothly in the middle of a lake - with the electricals, plumbing and all mechanical infrastructure working to 5-star efficiency? Well, it's what these folks do - they're MEP consultants (mechanical, engineering, plumbing consultants) who work closely with architects and have helped put together efficient buildings including the homes of some of India's richest Indians as well as landmarks such as the Bahai temple in New Delhi!
These are just a few names - look around India and you will find hundreds of other such companies keeping the economy moving and thriving silently. Providing products and services that don't shout out with multi-crore multi-media advertising or pr campaigns. But result in equally happy consumers.
I believe the next revolution in India will be here - infrastructure, and services. Because as India strives to become an economic superpower, and the world moves in to take advantages of opportunity India - who do you think is going to make us all work and live comfortably?!