Dear Financial Voice Reader,
Keeping Britain Great – the Role of Indian Companies and British Indians.
The UK is buzzing with UK India events. Just the ones I am involved in alone, from Manoj Ladwa’s IndiaInc’s fantastic India week Awards, conclave, plus much more, to UK-India Business Summit 2019, by the India Business Group hosted by Lord Patel and Amarjit Singh, to the Bengal Awards hosted by this paper and Samit Biswas of Advatech, and their Meditoura 2019 event at QEII. Then there is the new UK India FICCI Council. Plus the Techrocketships winners from India delegation of startups led by the British High Commission. And like I said those are just the ones I am participating in!
This financial year, just finished on 31st March, I had the most successful year in landing overseas tech companies to the UK in my 15 years as a Department for International Trade Dealmaker. These included World Wide Generation (Blockchain, UN Social Development Goals, from Australia), Asset Vault (Data protection, from Hyderabad), Advatech (Medical transportation - thank you too to David Amess MP from India), Finboot (Fintech blockchain), Automata.live (Blockchain and trading from France), Medicheck (Medical devices from Sweden), Aspire (Recruitment blockchain tech from Poland), TinkerBell Labs (Behavioural analysis from Singapore), Lattice80 (Fintech incubator, Singapore), LendEnable (SME lending made more efficient, India).
So what’s going on, where, and how do entrepreneurs get in on the action?
My role as a UK Government ‘Dealmaker’ is to look for the most outstanding growth potential intellectual property rich companies of strategic importance to the UK to set up a regional HQ in the UK – and do the deals, such as help find clients and VC funds, to make it happen.
So what makes them willing and able to establish in the UK? What kind of companies are they? All businesses want several key things to succeed and the UK.
First, skilled labour. Britain’s hubs allowing companies using their talents to lead globally. From Northern Ireland’s Cybersecurity specialties to Scotland’s alternative energy hubs; from Midlands in automotive to Manchester in Nano.
As PM Modi explained to me – it is intellectual property that makes a nation wealthy, and Indians have it in abundance – from the number zero onwards. (He had a mischievous twinkle in his eye when he said that!).
Second, the networks. Again, not just Techcity (www.techcityuk.com) with the thousand plus companies all interacting, sharing costs, doing business, like the UK’s Silicon Valley. Or TechHub and its workspaces, Springboard in Cambridge, Oxygen in Birmingham and loads more all over the UK. And a big shout out to Leeds.
I co-founded TIE-UK connecting Indian and British Indian entrepreneurs through mentoring knowing this would pull in investment from India to the UK because companies need ‘soft-landings’ to help them grow. And British Indian NRIs have exactly that – they can help pull in even more in their image and British organisations like this which help NRIs throughout the UK to help attract Indian companies to set up in the UK are vital to keeping Britain great.
Third is capital. Investment groups like the Indian Angel Network with whom then PM Brown launched with UKIBC in Delhi my initiative of the UK India Business Angel Network to invest in British companies of Indian origin is one of many sources of capital for Indian companies setting up their UK HQs.
Long may the excitement continue.