Here goes Goa in an attempt to redefine the business and industrial scene in the State. Slated for October next year, and preparations beginning already, is the Vibrant Goa Global Expo and Summit that is expected to take that extra step to launch the State on a global platform of business opportunities. It will bring in tourists, not those who come for leisure, but those looking for business opportunities. There are ten months before Vibrant Goa gets rolling, enough time for the business heads to get charged up and ready for the summit. It is up to the mentors for the summit, the same group that has successfully launched Vibrant Gujarat and others, to prepare Goan businesses to handle the questions and take quick decisions.
That’s all ready, but just what does Goa have to offer the business world? The State’s two major employment providers and revenue earners that have served the exchequer well for decades are staring at the wall. Its mining sector has been shut since March this year and the tourism industry is facing a huge drop in charter landings. In fact, this was openly admitted at the launch of Vibrant Goa when the president to VG said, “Mining in Goa is becoming a thing of the past. Traditional tourism is getting stale, our competitiveness in traditional business activities is a question mark. It’s time to embrace change.”
As Goa gets prepared to ‘embrace change’ it has to also ensure that the change is in tune with what the people of the State aspire for. The State cannot afford industry that is environment unfriendly, nor does it have the land to house big industrial units. That makes IT and emerging technologies as the next big things for Goa. And both will be among the key focus areas along with electronics, tourism and wellness (medical tourism) and other existing industry like pharma and biotechnology, marine engineering, startups, agro and food processing and various others.
The State needs to play up its advantages if it is to attract industry during the conclave. There is, and as acknowledged by the Vibrant Goa organisers, high economic growth that includes one of the highest per capita GSDP, a facilitating infrastructure, strong presence in certain sectors including tourism, and a high rate of literacy that prepares an educated workforce for industry, especially for the knowledge-based industry. The State has to focus on the last, so that the local population benefits through job opportunities from any investment and industry coming into Goa. And there is also a new investment opportunity that could be taped. One of the areas that has been spoken of is the potential of Non-Resident Goans investing into collaborative ventures with Goan entrepreneurs and startups. Having grown used to receiving remittances from abroad, Goa should actively look at the possibility of foreign investments from its own people.
A word of caution is needed here, to ensure that the Vibrant Goa nomenclature is not confused with the Vibrant Gujarat or Vibrant Tamil Nadu that are similar business conclaves. Over the years Vibrant Gujarat has evolved into a platform for brainstorming on agendas of global socio-economic development. It has also emerged as a facilitator for knowledge sharing and forging effective partnerships. It now draws over 25,000 delegates representing over 100 countries, including heads of State and Nobel Laureates. In branding, a similar name can cause confusion and here ‘Vibrant’ has the potential to take away from Goa the uniqueness that the State has to offer.