A promising Indian odyssey for UK firms

The Iain Gray Column

The Technology Strategy Board’s recent Web Mission to India highlighted British technologies which could be particularly promising in the what’s predicted to be the world’s fifth largest economy by 2020.

India is currently the world’s tenth largest economy, but with a population of over 1.2bn it is expected to grow to become the fifth largest by 2020. As a result, India is experiencing social and business change at a rate unseen anywhere else in the world.

This landscape offers huge opportunities for UK businesses that can provide affordable, scalable and innovative solutions to meet the needs of this rapidly growing market. The emerging middle classes are demanding a whole set of new services, products and infrastructure – ranging from affordable healthcare through to education, energy and finance.

To benefit from these changes, UK businesses must understand how India integrates and applies new technology, building on its own strengths and using business models and principles that may be unfamiliar to UK entrepreneurs and investors. It was the challenges associated with entering an unfamiliar market that the Technology Strategy Board addressed through its recent Web Mission to India. The Mission brought together a unique blend of private and public sector partners to provide insights, networking and customer opportunities.

Ambient Technical Solutions offers a systems for predicting flood risk

Sixteen of the UK’s most promising digital, wireless and mobile software technology companies were selected to take part. Among them was uMotif, a digital health company with a B2B2C software platform which helps to improve patient adherence to medication regimes and health programmes. The software engages patients and health professionals in such as way as to enhance treatment outcomes and reduce healthcare costs

At the other end of the spectrum was Ambiental Technical Solutions, a specialist flood risk mapping specialist with a fast and easy-to-understand solution for predicting the depth, duration and extent of flood risk. Deployed in India, the technology could create high-resolution digital flood maps and models at a city-wide or national scale.

We are now three months on. The deals done, both during the mission week and after reinforce the important role of the Mission in driving innovation. Some participants have already returned to India to continue developing new business leads. Overall, 83% of mission companies said the Mission will help their business grow faster.  When put into context, since the very first Mission in 2009, over £250 million worth of investment has been secured by companies and over one hundred significant partnerships or customers acquired.

With the Web Mission successfully completed and the companies involved growing their businesses; I look forward to the Clean and Cool Missions later this year. These are designed to help pioneering early-stage UK clean technology companies grow their businesses overseas. Clean technology is integral to the future growth of economies around the world that are facing challenges such as urbanisation, resource efficiency and climate change adaptation. The competition opens on 20th May for Colorado and 3rdJune for Brazil. You can find more details at: www.cleanandcoolmission.com.

I encourage start-up and early-stage companies in this sector to apply. The benefits on offer for business growth are clear.