Earlier in October, Creative England chairman John Newbigin and board member Ian Livingstone joined Business Secretary Vince Cable and a host of UK business delegates in India for this year’s UK India Business Council.
These conferences are a great opportunity to beat the drum for UK Industry, attract inward investment and foster closer cultural and business ties between the UK and India.This particular Council conference was unique in that it was the first of its kind to feature a session dedicated to the creative industries which John planned and chaired. We asked him to report back on his trip and share his thoughts on the event.
Trade between the UK and India was worth £11bn in 2009, £16.4bn last year and the government believes it’s on track to exceed £20bn by 2015, so doubling in value in just 6 years and making the UK one of India’s top three trading partners. And it’s a two-way business – the biggest single private investor in UK industry is the Indian Tata group, whose highest profile company is Jaguar Land Rover.
To help keep this amazing growth trend going, there’s an annual business conference in Delhi that attracts around a hundred British companies who want to get a better understanding of how Indian markets work and where opportunities lie by meeting Indian entrepreneurs, business executives and policy wonks.
In the past, the conference-goers have been what you might call the usual suspects – they’ve come from the automotive industries, aerospace, defence, financial services, education, pharmaceuticals. But this year, creative industries were added to the list and I was asked to plan and chair the inaugural session.
Despite its unique heritage of creative craft skills and the mind-boggling ingenuity of the country’s creative entrepreneurs (it’s a long-standing joke that there is no word in the Hindi language for ‘obsolete’ because nothing is ever obsolete in India – there’s always someone smart enough, or desperate enough, to re-cycle or re-purpose anything that’s been thrown away) the concept of the creative industries as a distinct sector is still relatively new in India.
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