LONDON: The first UK-India Business Centre to facilitate British business entry and expansion in India is all set for its launch in Gurgaon next month.
The centres, with an initial investment of 1 million pound, form part of a global UK government initiative to strengthen British business networks in 20 overseas markets.
The creation of a pan-India network is being led by the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) with the aim of providing Britain's small and medium enterprises (SMEs) a platform in the country.
"The centres, starting with Gurgaon, will provide a soft landing and incubation centre for British SMEs to access the Indian market.
"It can be quite a challenging process if you are an outsider and what we are going to do in India is to provide a service that is practical and useful," said Richard McCallum, the managing director of UKIBC India Private Limited, who is spearheading the launch planned for September 19.
As the first centre of its kind, the Gurgaon hub will set the template for other such bases around the country. It will take a sector-specific approach to business activities and focus on three particular segments to begin with - advanced engineering and manufacturing, healthcare and life-sciences, and skills and education.
"The team has been recruited and are in place for the launch. We found people who are dynamic, proactive and really know their stuff in each of these sectors.
"For each sector, we have an analyst to provide the research, analysis and diagnostics, and an adviser to link up that service with the client in a business development, client-facing way," explained McCallum.
As co-founder and director of Flying Fox, India's first zipline adventure tourism company, brings years of Delhi-based experience to his new role as MD of this new project geared towards enhancing India-UK economic collaboration across various fields.
"I look at the centres in three ways - it is the facilities, the hardware that is useful for a company when it comes to India like desk space, hot-desking and meeting rooms.
"It is also the services provided by our team, both here and in India, including an assessment of your India readiness and steps you need to take to get there.
"And, a very open plan, collaborative atmosphere - a sort of foundation eco-system for market entry into India, a country with phenomenal opportunity," he said.
The Gurgaon centre will be located in Infinity Towers, Cyber City, and will be at the heart of the north central economic region in India.