In the wake of the Monaco Economic Board‘s trip to New Delhi in 2019, between the 29th of October and the 6th of November 2023, Baccana Digital Consulting Monaco paid a business visit to the largest democracy in the world : India.
India is a continent, 1.4 billion inhabitants (surpassing China), 6 times the size of France (and almost 1.5 million times Monaco!), 28 states, 780 different languages (though Hindi and English are widespread for interstate communication), the out-of-this-world figures could go on and on.
But to focus on our primary goal for this visit, the IT market, you will find 170,000 registered IT companies in India (450,000 in the US in comparison).
There are some 110 unicorns in India like the Polygon Blockchain for instance, and other big IT players like Zoho Office Suite or iProspect.
You also might know some very famous IT hubs like Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Delhi … but do you know Chandigarh ?
Chandigarh is 3.5 hours by train away from New Delhi, at the North West of the Capital. It is the capital of Punjab state, home to 2.4 million people for the TriCity community (Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali). Created ex nihilo as the state capital, Chandigarh was designed by swiss-french architect Le Corbusier after the partition of the British Colony of India in 1947 which saw the birth of India, Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
We first landed in the crowded, damp and vivid country capital, New Delhi. We were welcome the first night by a rammed meeting led by the popular Prime Minister Modhi, a meeting attended by an impressive, young, though ecstatic crowd. Our New Delhi stop was the opportunity to meet with fellow Foreign Trade Advisors in India.
Chris Clavel, Baccana Monaco CEO, and David Culot, Baccana Monaco CTO and consultant, met with expat entrepreneurs in the textile and railroad industries. These expats linked to the Indo French Chamber of Commerce and Industry shared with us their 13 years long experience of India which was a good start to our journey.
We then headed up by car to Chandigarh to meet with several IT teams… including Baccana Digital Technologies India LLC, incorporated in Chandigarh, the offshoot of our Monaco headquarters.
During our stay in Chandigarh, we took the time to meet and plan the future with our office manager, Aman, as well as with our humble and young development team, specialized in Ruby On Rails and Angular development, and organized some training sessions for them regarding communication procedures and new western technical requirements.
But Baccana Monaco was also appointed to make a lecture and lead a training session in another Indian IT company in Chandigarh counting up to 80 developers.
With almost 30 years of experience in the management of development teams, David Culot, a Silicon Valley veteran, took the stage for a 40 minutes’ session with acclaimed success.
How to deal with western clients, the power of saying “No, I have a better idea”, work on your code libraries, educate yourself, always improve your tech skills as well as your soft skills were some of the items covered.
The session was followed by questions and answers … questions that went on well after the session and out of the office at the employees’ cigarette’s break!
The Indian IT scene is fresh and friendly, polite and skilled, with plenty of smiles, humility and hidden soft skills that we had the pleasure of discovering.
During our stay in Chandigarh, I also got to meet with Web3 and Blockchain developers. To interact with these Blockchain companies was exhilarating. We openly talked about the Web3 trends (no, Blockchain and NFTs are not dead!) and I got to find out about their geographical markets, as well as the depth of the eclectic clients’ portfolios they were kind enough to disclose. Obviously, as one can expect, most of their customers are in the Emirates, but also as far as Australia, Singapore and the Philippines in fields as diverse as Metaverse gaming, Blockchain gambling or Blockchain trading.
Because business goes well with culture, one of our tech company hosts had the great idea to take us for dinner in the gardens of the former offices of Le Corbusier while he was designing and conjuring the new city of Chandigarh. A night out where the Punjabi spicy cuisine met the soft tunes of Edith Piaf and the bicycle ride of Yves Montand in a tropical garden…
As Chandigarh is situated at the feet of the western slopes of the Himalaya, we could not pass on the chance to follow our office manager Aman on a quick hop in the Himachal Pradesh State, where we took the Himalayan Expressway driving by colorful Hindu temples in the hills, sacred cows on the fast lane and cheeky roadside monkeys carrying their offsprings on their back while munching on fresh apples offered by sun tanned truck drivers on their way to Shimla or Dharamsala, the permanent residence of the Dalai Lama in exile in India.
After our Himalaya hop, it was time to go back to New Delhi by train. Aboard, we had the opportunity to meet with Chubi, a young and talented Bollywood movies’ critic on YouTube. She had been creating content for an Indian Movie Critic company for 7 years and decided to go on her own and take the long and curvy road of entrepreneurship.
It was a pleasure to talk about the Indian movie culture with Chubi (Who does not know Sharukh Khan or Slumdog Millionaire ?), as well as to discover her YouTube channel : Bollywood Dil Se… Because consulting and advising is our second nature, we gave her some tips regarding SEO, online marketing and digital strategy overall. Digital consulting never stops and has no frontiers, it was our pleasure to give and share …
Karma paid off as we arrived in the New Delhi train station. We don’t know how we could have found our driver in the hot and colorful chaos of the Delhi train station without the help of Chubi!
At the image of India, it was a dense and rich business trip. In Monaco we take pride of doing business in a human dimension. The human dimension of this short business journey surpassed everything Baccana Digital Consulting could have hoped for, durably strengthening the ties between our company in the Principality and our India counterparts.
Because we could not do it alone, we wanted to thank Mr Sumeet Anand and Mrs Payal Kanwar, of the Indo French Chamber of Commerce and Industry linked to the Monaco Economic Board, who kindly dedicated some time to us, and gave us some ropes to get in touch with local entrepreneurs.
We also want to thank the network of the French Foreign Trade Advisors in India with whom we had the pleasure to meet either virtually or in person in New Delhi (thank you Damien Berville). These unique encounters are priceless, some great business stories in the making have been started.
More is to come. I had the honor of being received by Son Excellence Mr Didier Gamerdinger before our business journey to India. In early 2024, an Indian Forum is planned by our Ambassador of Monaco to India. This forum will be the opportunity to talk about Baccana Digital Consulting experience with India as well as having some of our Indian counterparts visiting Monaco next year.
An Indian Mantra says that “friendship starts by walking seven steps together”, we took these seven steps with India and wish to continue this walk in Monaco in 2024.