London Calling: A warm welcome to India’s global superstars
The UK and India have well-established economic, social and cultural ties. The strong bond between our two countries can largely be traced back to our urban centres. For centuries, cities such as London and Mumbai have acted as hubs for sharing ideas, talent and doing business.
After a week in Bengaluru and Mumbai, I am returning home with a strong sense of optimism for strengthening business links between London and some of India’s leading cities.
It’s refreshing to see that Prime Minister Modi shares this vision and with new initiatives such as the UK-India Tech partnership announced this week, I see lots of opportunities for Indian and UK businesses, entrepreneurs and policy makers to collaborate.
As the world’s fastest growing economy, India has developed a thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in cities across the country. And with some impressive policies from India’s government such as the Start-up India programme, it is no surprise to see the sudden rise of high growth Indian businesses in a range of sectors.
The recent boom of India’s start-up economy in hubs such as Bengaluru share the dynamism that we have seen in the rise of London’s tech ecosystem over the last ten years. Since the creation of the Tech City project, London has established itself as Europe’s largest tech hub, attracting talent and investment from all over the world.
India has played an important role in London’s growth story and continues to be a leading source of investment and talent into London. In fact, India businesses are the third largest investors into London, with more Indian companies expanding into London than any other country after the United States and China.
As our respective tech hubs continue to grow, I think there is huge potential for cities such as London and Bengaluru to exchange ideas and best practices.
Last December, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and his Indian Deputy Mayor, Rajesh Agrawal led a trade mission to India to promote stronger trade and investment links between the two countries. Since the trip we have seen a number of positive collaborations and business deals, with some of these Indian tech companies expected to create over 400 jobs in London this year.
While London remains a top choice for Indian businesses looking to expand into Europe, it is important that we continue to provide the right support for Indian businesses looking to London. London & Partners and the Mayor’s office continues to help Indian businesses expand into London and we recently announced a new office in Bengaluru in addition to our Mumbai office – providing a first port of call for Indian businesses wanting advice on setting up in London.
This week I haven been visiting Bengaluru and Mumbai to judge the final round of our Indian Emerging 20 (IE20) initiative – a programme run by London & Partners in partnership with BDO and Lalit Hotels, designed to identify twenty of Indian’s fastest growing businesses looking to expand globally.
We’ve had hundreds of applications from companies based all over India with a turnover of over $5m and that have embraced the challenge of globalising their business.
Over the past few days I’ve been joined by other senior business leaders and investors from India and UK to select the twenty finalists that will receive tailored guidance on how to expand into London.
It’s been exciting to see the energy and passion from some of Indian’s brightest entrepreneurs and I’ve been impressed by the sheer number of high growth businesses, particularly in areas such as fintech and life sciences.
2018’s finalists will hopefully follow in the footsteps of a number of success stories from last year’s programme. For example, medical technology company, RX Prism, setup a £2 million innovation hub in London. Like many other Indian MedTech companies, RX Prism cited London’s impressive tech talent pool and university graduates as a key reason for investing. Other success stories included Chennai-based analytics firm, LatentView who have since setup in London and online tea distribution service, Teabox that is now selling its products in the UK.
During my time in India, I’ve witnessed a real appetite for collaboration and I am excited to explore new ways for cities such as Mumbai and Bengaluru to work closer with London.
My message to Indian business leaders and entrepreneurs is simple - London is open to Indian talent, investment and collaborations.
Jules Chappell OBE, Managing Director Business, London & Partners