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Sizzling hot

There is plenty of life in India's indomitable SME sector.

Small and medium enterprises, or SMEs as they are better known, never cease to amaze. Thousands of them sprout, thrive or languish every year across the diverse landscape that is industrial India. Only a handful grow up to be national brands; the rest are either content to stay in the world of exemptions and reservations granted to the sector or compelled to do so because of a lack of managerial talent, finances or networking.

The winners of The BT-YES Bank SME awards

Star SME
Small Shree R.N. Metals (India)

Aarvi Encon

Best Green SME
Small Camson Bio Technologies
Medium Gravita India

Best SME for innovation
Small Camson Bio Technologies
Medium Quick Heal Technologies

Best SME in international trade
Small GKB Ophthalmics
Medium Nitta Gelatin India

Small Veeda Clinical Research
Medium Intercontinental
Consultants and Technocrats

Best SME for CSR
Small Bhagavathi Ana Labs
Medium Man Structurals

Best SME in NE India
Assam Hospitals

According to the 2009-10 annual report of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, or MSME, the sector accounts for 45 per cent of India's manufacturing output and 40 per cent of exports, employing 59 million people. While the BT-YES Bank Survey left out the "micro" enterprises, the numbers are still a good indicator of the sector's importance.

This year's winners of the BT-YES Bank Best SMEs contest range from a hospital in the Northeast (which prefers to be a corporate body rather than a "charitable trust") to a unit making metal balls used for grinding in the core sector industries. Another makes anti-virus software, some are driven by concerns for the environment and one makes the roads and airports that help move men and materials.

The second BT-YES Bank SME Survey had to base its work on the results of the participating companies for 2008-09, and not 2009-10.

This is because the first survey took into account the results for 2007-08 and we did not wish to skip a year. There was also the small matter of the global economic meltdown that started in the second half of 2008-09. It was in a way the perfect arena for picking the winners: Almost all of them seemed to have thrived and done even better the next year. While writing about the winners, however, we put in the turnover and profit after tax figures for 2009-10.