As the UK maintains its position as the top investment destination in the EU, Indian investments have contributed in this growth story. Investment from India has increased by 65% making India UK’s third largest source of FDI. Indian firms have increased their investment in the UK by forming 122 investment projects creating 7,730 new jobs and safeguarding 1,620 jobs in the UK.
The UK has been a popular destination for Indian investments for over 100 years now, Tata being the largest manufacturing employer in the country. In fact a strong demonstration of UK and Indian commercial ties is hard to miss as soon as you land in London. As you board the Heathrow Express to make your way into the heart of the city (above), you'll see the iconic London transport has Tata plastered all over it.
So what makes the UK so attractive to India and Indian entrepreneurs?
UKTI’s Dealmaker for the Global Entrepreneur Programme , Alpesh Patel, responsible for advising and supporting Indian, Malaysian and Singaporean businesses aiming to make a foray into the UK explains that Indians have an entrepreneurial DNA which is best utilised in a place like the UK.
‘Indian entrepreneurs have become more sophisticated and ambitious in thinking global! The great thing about Indian entrepreneurs is that in comparison to their counterparts in Singapore, Hong Kong or Malaysia they truly think global. It may be because of India’s geographical location or cultural dynamics Indians tend to look westwards than eastwards far more which is good for the UK’ ,says Patel.
To harness this opportunity, the Indian Inward Investment team organised a tri-city (Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru) interaction of Indian entrepreneurs with Alpesh Patel - pictured below - which was publicised using digital marketing. The teams used digital banners on FB, twitter, LinkedIn, GREAT- branded e-invites and interviews with sector specific online platforms to create a buzz amongst the start-up community. A highly engaged group of Indian entrepreneurs turned up at the events and got to hear the UK's offer resulting in many considering investing in the UK.
And it’s not just the big cities but entrepreneurs from small town India like Mohali, Ludhiana, Jaipur in the north Thiruvananthapuram and Coimbatore in the south are also making a beeline to take their business global from the UK. Vikram Singh is the Director of Antier Solutions, a Mohali based IT organisation delivering intelligence software solutions for the last 12 years in India. When he took the decision to take the plunge into the overseas market he chose the UK.
‘The UK has the most lucrative offer for people like me who have not ventured outside India before. The interactive sessions organised by UKTI India with sector specialists and Dealmakers like Alpesh Patel, helped clear the cobwebs that I had about taking my business to a foreign country. This strong network and handholding that the UK offers provide the right launch pad to young entrepreneurs like me,’ says Vikram Singh.
At a time when global FDI flows have fallen, investors from India understand and have advantageously exploited the opportunities that the UK has to offer. They acknowledge that with the lowest corporation tax in the G20 gateway, the UK is welcoming, diverse and open for business.
Alpesh Patel comments: ‘This is the first time in a long time that Indian businesses truly seem to have the confidence and the belief, it is may be because of the successes of big Indian companies like Tata and Reliance in the UK that young Indians feel that they can go global.’