Emerging markets such as India and Africa are focused on the potential of high-speed mobile connectivity to boost their economies like never before. As a result, faster 4G connections are rapidly gaining momentum in these markets.
For small businesses — including those in the U.S. — this could open a window of exciting opportunities too.
New Markets, New Opportunities
Rising consumer demand and a growing disposable income make emerging economies lucrative for businesses. For small businesses, these countries could potentially become new markets for their products and services, especially digital ones.
One huge opportunity is in the area of eCommerce. Emerging economies are currently experiencing an eCommerce boom. Not only are entrepreneurs in these emerging economies launching eCommerce businesses of their own, but consumers are increasingly buying online. For small businesses offering software tools to eCommerce companies or for small eCommerce businesses specifically targeting consumers in these emerging markets, the opportunities for growth are clear.
Another opportunity exists in forming partnerships with Indian and African small businesses. These businesses have local knowledge and expertise, which could prove beneficial in tapping into new markets.
Governments in India and Africa know that their markets are attractive destinations for businesses. Not surprisingly, therefore, there is a growing emphasis on faster 4G mobile service to accelerate the pace of growth.
In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his ambitious Digital India initiative this year to prioritize improved net connectivity and boost e-governance. A vast segment of the Indian population already uses mobile phones to make voice calls and send messages. The government initiative aims to make high speed Internet connection available to these mobile users too.
During his recent visit to the U.S., Prime Minister Modi addressed a gathering of heads of tech giants and said that he wants to digitally connect his 1.25 billion citizens. He also added that everyone can “be a part of the India story.”
Large U.S. industries have already mobilizing to seize the new opportunities. And with the availability of inexpensive digital technology, U.S. small businesses should not be far behind.
Support for Small Businesses
The success of digital proliferation in driving business depends on how the governments approach it. In Rwanda, for example, the government owns the 4G network, which is sold to telecom companies. This model of public-private partnership makes it easier for everyone to access the service.
Meanwhile India is taking things a step further, providing not only the technology but also additional investment to build partnerships between local businesses and companies in more developed nations like the U.S. Prime Minister Modi recently launched the Bharat Fund at a recent India-U.S. StartUp Konnect event. Apart from providing seed funding to Indian entrepreneurs, the initiative will “boost startup creation between India and the U.S.”
Although emerging countries offer a host of great business opportunities, there are several challenges such as procedural delays and cultural differences that need to be taken into account. Make sure you fully understand both the opportunities and challenges before exploring this option.
4G Graphic via Shutterstock