Kerr sees opportunities for Insomnia in India PDF Print E-mail

Chairman of Insomnia Bobby Kerr has just returned from a business trip to India where he gained some valuable insights into the opportunities and challenges that exist there.

Arranged by the Irish Exporters Association in conjunction with the Federation of Indian Exporters, the trip involved 40 Irish companies going to Mumbai and meeting with 70 Indian companies, as well as state bodies.

“My primary reason for going to Mumbai was to look at the opportunities there for Insomnia as the retail coffee market is starting to gain legs in India. There were a number of people interested in talking to me, including a major restaurant owner. I went out to look, rather than sign anything, but I got very positive feedback.

“I firmly believe whatever business you’re in, you probably need to be looking overseas now to be strong in the next five years as the domestic market is tough.”

Kerr says the biggest challenge facing Irish businesses hoping to enter the Indian market is finding the right partner. “You can only really go into India as part of a partnership so the selection of who you work with is critical. I found the Indian people interesting to deal with. They’re very direct. If you’re not prepared for that you might be offended and find them too pushy. But I found it refreshing.”

He says his experience of visiting Mumbai was both fascinating and humbling. “It has a population of 20 million and another 5 million that no-one knows about. The naked poverty is hard to deal with and there’s a lot of pollution and traffic.”

While the trip was supported by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, it was largely a private initiative, which Kerr says gave it a different dynamic. “The people that went were really out there looking closely at the opportunities. Certainly for a first visit to a market like India I think going with a group of other businesses is the way to go. In fact, if you’re interested in any market you need to go there.”