“SURGE – SME Conclave” – an investor education investment forum – took off at the Chamber Towers here on Saturday. Organised by Birla Sun Life Asset Management Company in association with BusinessLine , the event, which was powered by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Coimbatore, was designed to offer solutions to financial problems and provide complete guidance to the SMEs.

This is the first in a series of SME dialogues conceived by KS Rao, Head, Investor Education and Distribution Development, Birla Sun Life Asset Management.

Delivering the key-note address, Rao said such dialogues are meant to educate SMEs to utilise the opportunity to manage finances, create financial literacy across the entire value chain by taking a top-down approach, and keeping them abreast of treasury management by using liquid funds.

“It would help guide SME by providing an opportunity for right funding, right protection and right investment,” he said.

A discussion on MSME funding dealt with issues that the small and medium sized units faced, with Birla Sun Life sources offering to work and walk with such enterprises.

J Vanangamudi, Head (MSME Facilitation Centre), Canara Bank, conceded to the lack of awareness about the various government schemes. He appealed to the participants to reach out to the banks directly for clarification.

While stating that the Indian MSME sector is highly developed, K Ilango, Managing Director, RSM Autokast, said the sector also needs to look at alternative source of funding. “Bank finance is not only not easy to avail, but more expensive than the terms at which they lend to the corporate sector,” he said.

However, Chartered Accountant Ravishankar referred to borrowing “as an art; on how one presents or prepares himself. Your financial statement is your horoscope,” he said, and motivated the participants to present their statements in a way so it could be difficult to turn down the proposal.

The discussion on barriers to technology adoption witnessed entrepreneurs such as Vaishnavi, Director of Krishna Sweets; and Rajesh, CFO and founder of onlystaples.com, admitting to the impediments in logistics partnering.

Another discussion, on investment landscape and treasury management, threw light on the investment opportunities that the SMEs can look up to, to tide over fund requirements by investing excess money in liquid funds for immediate requirement and investment in bonds for meeting long term requirements.