COMMENT: Time to seize the opportunities of India

Northern businesses must act quickly to grasp market share in India, writes Natalie Bain, head of the Northern Powerhouse at the Department for International Trade.

Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 4:59 pm
Natalie Bain, Head of the Northern Powerhouse at the Department for International Trade.

I want to see businesses across the North trading with India like never before.

As part of my department’s efforts to bring India’s opportunities to life, this week we have welcomed businesses to our India roadshow in Manchester and Sheffield, organised in partnership with Invest India, which has been a brilliant opportunity for companies across the North to access expertise and share best-practice when doing business in India.

I am also delighted to have announced our new Northern Powerhouse mission to Bangalore and Mumbai in October, which will focus on opportunities in digital technology, clean energy, health innovation and education.

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With a thriving middle class, the world’s 6th largest economy and the highest expected growth rate in the G20, the 2020s looks set to be India’s decade. Behind the statistics are the people, ideas, institutions, language and technology that makes collaboration between the UK and India so great. Moreover, according to census data, almost 200,000 British Indians live in the Northern Powerhouse.

There are a number of companies already leading the way, with both exporting and investment success stories seen across our region in recent times.

In June, Mumbai headquartered global technology firm Mastek announced a £12 million investment into a new digital skills graduate programme (for 120 graduates) in Leeds, creating 200 jobs.

Earlier this year Sheffield’s Loha Ltd agreed to supply electric motor waste to India at a value of £500,000 per year, while last year Indian-owned IT services firm Tech Mahindra opened its ‘HQ of the North’ in Manchester creating 80 jobs.

Overall, exports of goods from the Northern Powerhouse to India grew by 18.1 per cent from 2017 to 2018 to reach a total value of £698 million.

So, the Indian economy is more relevant, faster growing and more open to UK exporters than ever before. How should Northern companies respond? My answer is simple – ‘quickly’.

Now is the moment for our region’s businesses to make their move and establish a presence in this diverse and exciting country of 1.3 billion people. DIT is on hand to help navigate the Indian market, and with a team of 60 International Trade Advisers in the Northern Powerhouse alone, we have the resources, sector expertise and financial support through UK Export Finance to help you leap into India.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​