Britain’s plan to create a network of business centres across India moved on to the next level with the announcement of a head of operations.
McCallum will take charge of rolling out a series of business centres and services across India in August, with the first such centre to be launched in the industrial hub of Gurgaon in September 2013.
The UKIBC had been tasked with following up on British Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement of these British centres during his high-profile visit to India back in February.
The council also announced the names of two new members to the India board – Kalyan Bose, president of the British Business Group (BBG) in Delhi, and Vandana Poria, chair of the BBG Pune.
UKIBC chair Patricia Hewitt said: “These announcements mark a major milestone in the new approach to business support announced recently by Prime Minister David Cameron and Trade Minister Lord Green. I am delighted that Richard McCallum has agreed to join us to lead this effort in India. Together with our Group CEO, Richard Heald, he will lead a step-change in the support available to British businesses wanting to enter or expand in India.”
The appointment coincided with a ceremony in Gurgaon on Monday (pictured) to mark the start of the fit-out process by Pacific Interiors, which have been chosen as property partners for the entire network.
“We intend to create something very relevant and very special in India. McCallum brings a rare combination of practical experience of running an SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) for seven years in India together with proven success of working within a large international company. We are looking forward to him deploying this expertise in recruiting and leading a team with strong Indian sectoral and commercial experience,” UKIBC Group CEO Richard Heald said.
The Business Centre in Gurgaon will not only be the first of six business centres to be rolled out across India, but also globally the first such business-led initiative bring backed by the British Government in 20 priority trade markets.
The British Business Centres across India, with an initial investment of over £1.1 million, were green lit earlier this year by UK trade and investment minister Lord Stephen Green. They are designed to transform the quantity and quality of support available to British businesses, especially SMEs, seeking to enter or expand in India.
“The opportunities for mutually advantageous trade flows between India and the UK are immense. Our centres will provide practical and useful support to enable businesses to take advantage of these opportunities,” said Richard McCallum.
The Gurgaon centre is located in Infinity Towers, Cyber City, and will act as a “hub” within the important north central economic region in India, while a smaller “spoke” in Connaught Place, in the heart of New Delhi, is also in the pipeline.
“The UK and Indian Prime Ministers remain committed to doubling trade and investment between India and the UK by 2015. We are on track to achieve this, but there is no room for complacency. This new network of UK-India business centres will prove the perfect complement to the work of our own UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) team across India,” said Sir James Bevan, British High Commissioner in India.