“I think agriculture is a huge opportunity for us to purchase goods from India. That will really bring alive some of those rural areas of India. In fact, It’s hard to think of areas where we won’t be aligned.”
“There’s a whole list of UK employers who have been on their own journey of development who would really relish and love the opportunity to mentor SMEs free of charge in India.
“We could exchange ideas and information in a completely non-competitive way. As people learn to like each other and trust develops, trade will flow between the two countries.”
“There is a simple system that can be developed by all businesses to accelerate the growth of their companies. Number one, stay close to the core. Number two, look for adjacent markets. Number three, go for the hacks. Number four, bring it all back together and start the process again.”
- There are tremendous opportunities for collaboration between the UK and India.
- Since the UK has already gone through the learning curve, businesses there can download their learnings to Indian businesses and SMEs quickly with the help of digitisation.
- The industry-academia disconnect in India can be solved by making academics work in industry and vice versa for a short time, so that each side understands the ground realities on the other side.
- Major unresolved problems with regard to skilling India are red tape, employer engagement, and involving mid-range companies in the program.
- Agriculture is a huge opportunity since the UK can purchase goods from India which will bring alive rural areas of India.
Today I am going to focus on business between the UK and India and the opportunities in the near future. And to talk about the diverse opportunities and some of the challenges for business between the UK and India, we have someone who has travelled almost 250 times to India. A highly successful entrepreneur, author and business coach, Mr Roy Newey.
I enquire about the work he has done in India under JETCO, during his visits here. “The idea was to understand the gaps and the opportunities and to understand how we could work together in a cohesive way for the benefit of the people of India,” he reveals. “In the UK this is a journey that we’d been on for a number of years already, so there were a number of developments and innovations that were on the shelves of UK skills providers and they were entirely applicable when setting the re-contextualization of India to shorten the learning curve.”
Given the background of the relation between the UK and India, how did he see the future business relationship and what was the potential according to him? “I think for the UK and for India there’s great opportunities after Brexit. For the UK to benefit from trade with India, Indian companies and Indian investors and UK companies and UK investors need to sit down and work out what are the new opportunities that we’ve got here.” Digitization too will benefit the two countries since online communications has increased post-COVID. “Trade and deals and the swiftness with which they can be done with the electronic and digital aids can be much faster. I think that’s going to impact our world.”
When I asked him what were the sectors where we could collaborate more or do more business, Roy said, “I think agriculture is a huge opportunity for us to purchase goods from India. That will really bring alive some of those rural areas of India. In fact, It’s hard to think of areas where we won’t be aligned.”
What would be his advice to these small entrepreneurs? “I think there’s a whole list of UK employers who have been on their own journey of development who would really relish and love the opportunity to mentor SMEs free of charge in India. We could exchange ideas and information in a completely non-competitive way. As people learn to like each other and trust develops, trade will flow between the two countries.”
Talking about the skills development program by the Commonwealth program under his leadership, Mr Newey said, “I think that the issue with the Commonwealth is that there are 56 countries involved. We tried to calibrate the journey of each of those countries. Whoever was ahead could ally and help a lesser developed country. The agenda of developing skills is common, even though the culture, the language, the currency, the religion, they might all be different.”
Across the globe, you will find a lot of young and committed young Indians who want to come back and want to commit to India. Many are doing this selflessly. There are a lot of people in the US, in Canada, in Japan, who have given up their very lucrative careers and they have come back and they have dedicated themselves to the next generation. We have a 1.3 billion population, a majority of which is young. By 2030, we will be the youngest populated country. What did he think should be our vision to shape the skill strategy of these young people? Especially with the demand and supply mechanisms in skills being misaligned? That, agreed Roy, was a problem in the UK too, and they had tried to shorten the training time and make it relevant by ensuring that the skill providers would only be paid by the government when they could prove that those whom they had trained had secured a relevant job and stayed in that job for at least 12 months.
One of the major challenges that the education system in India is facing is the industry-academia connect. It’s not very easy to connect the industry work with the academy because academicians will always fall behind. When asked if he had a practical solution for this, Mr Roy said that the best option he felt was to make academics work in industry and vice versa for a short time, so that each side understood the ground realities on each side. I agree with him to a great extent. We have recently started the National Education 2020 Summit in India to get the universities together to have a debate on a new education policy and I’m going to suggest this solution to them too.
Talking about unresolved problems regarding the skills agenda, Mr Roy revealed that red tape, employer engagement, and engagement of mid-range companies in the program were the key unresolved problems which still need to be tackled.
I point out that recently the government of India has announced a new education policy and it does give a lot of freedom to the universities and institutions to evolve their curriculum in all their programs and there is no red tape. A lot of things that he mentioned are being addressed under the new education policy.
Talking about his book ‘Ready, Get Set, Grow’, Mr Newey revealed, “I spent 40 years growing my own business and I grew it at an accelerated rate. I went from three million pounds a year to 180 million pounds a year and we’re in 15 countries around the world. We went from a staff of 65 to 5,000 and I was able to sell that business in 2015. What I realized is that there’s a way of doing it. This is a simple system that can be developed by all businesses to accelerate the growth of the companies. Number one, stay close to the core. Number two, look for adjacent markets. Number three, then go for the hacks. Number four, bring it all back together and start the process again. That’s the gist of ‘Ready, Get Set, Grow’. And you will be delighted to know, it’s available on Amazon.”
As a parting message to India, Mr Newey added, “‘Incredible India’ I believe is an understatement. Every time I think of India, my head just says ‘wow’. You are a fantastic group of people. You’ve got fantastic opportunities in front of you and so much power and energy and an ability to solve not just your problems but to be part of solving the world’s problems. What makes me feel great about India and it’s the people is your commitment to family, your industriousness, your sense of endeavour. And the skills and education can fire all of that so you move forward with tremendous success. I really wish India the most wonderful future. Let’s keep investing in the young people.”
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