Focus on India – the doors are open for British SME's

While the UK economy slowly shrinks, India is industrialising at a rate of knots and is on track to become the world's largest economy by 2050. I've just spent a week between Bangalore and New Delhi as part of a WebMission along with 16 of the UK's brightest tech companies intent on forming partnerships with Indian businesses and targeting the emerging Indian market.

The British start-ups I travelled with were welcomed by Indian businesses and investors with huge enthusiasm and a willingness to share ideas that I rarely experience here in the UK. During my trip it was hard not to get excited by the feeling of endless opportunities that India could offer those starting businesses.

As the middle class continues to emerge from the slums that are still rife all over India, there's a growing desire for the technologies and services that we have in the west - and more. This was a point touched upon by Subhabrata Gosh, CEO of Celcius 100 and the man who took Saatchi & Saatchi to India.

He told me: "There are two Indias - those who were born before 1980 and those after. Those born before expected to have things created for them those born after want to create things for themselves."

This new attitude is what's driving growth across the nation, and British businesses need to get in there early to develop relationships before others do.

In my opinion there are huge advantages for British businesses in India. Firstly there are the similarities in culture. Despite being foreign, our shared love of cricket, the fact we speak the same language (English is used throughout India), and the many Indians who have immigrated to the UK over the years, all mean we're not alien.

Being foreign is also a plus - it makes us more interesting to speak to, and coming from a "developed" nation means Indian people feel they can learn from the mistakes we made in the past, while also copying what our successful businesses did right, albeit with an Indian twist.

David Cameron may have travelled to India along with some huge businesses such as Rolls-Royce and London Underground, but during my trip on the Web Mission to India I saw British start-ups such as Coveritas and BuffaloGrid strike up conversations and meetings that ended with deals visible. Both of these companies are tiny, but through their Britishness and expertise were able to punch above their weight.

So if you're running a small business my advice would be to take a leaf from David Cameron's book. Explore India as an option and grow your business to a level that simply isn't possible in the UK, after all there's 1bn potential customers in India and only 60m in the UK.

For more information read our guide on how to do business in India

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