SCR Mayor and regional businesses hold roundtables with Pune Mayor and Indian businesses

By Kealan Finnegan

Two hugely successful mayor-to-mayor (M2M) and business-to-business (B2B) roundtables took place this week with the aim of enhancing relationships and increase trading opportunities between the Sheffield City Region and Pune.

The first virtual roundtable involved Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis MP, Mayor Murlidhar Mohol, Mayor of Pune, Vikram Kumar, Municipal Commissioner for Pune, Sir Nigel Knowles, the CEO of DWF and International Advisor to Mayor Jarvis, Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Ambassador for Sheffield City Region, Magnomatics and the Vice Chancellors of the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. UKIBC’s Kevin McCole, Managing Director, moderated the discussion.

The two mayors and other delegates covered a range of shared priorities, including: active and urban transport systems, climate action through a low carbon economy, water and waste management; and trade, investment and business partnership.

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis MP said: “This was a most productive discussion covering a number of critically important topics both for our region and for Pune.  It’s exciting to look at ways we could collaborate and share expertise as part of building good and long-standing relationships with the Maharashtra region of India.”

A second purely business-focused Roundtable event was held involving a number of South Yorkshire businesses as part of the India Growth Champions Scheme that the UKIBC is running in partnership with the Sheffield City Region to increase trading links between businesses in SCR and Pune. The businesses include Kycker, Zoo Digital, Maher, Robson Handling Technology, Macalloy, Magnomatics and Kingkraft.

The B2B roundtable was led by Sir Nigel Knowles, International Advisor to the Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, Prashant Girbane, Director General of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture, and  the UKIBC’s Kevin McCole.

The focus of the discussion was on the opportunities for Pune and SCR businesses to trade, invest, and collaborate in knowledge in areas of mutual strength, particularly the tech-rich areas of advanced engineering, medtech, and digital.

UKIBC’s Kevin McCole said: “The combination of City to City and Business to Business engagement held today has been really important in cultivating relationships and business partnerships. There are great complementarities between the Sheffield City Region and the State of Maharashtra, especially Pune. Not least as both are globally renowned centres of advanced manufacturing innovation. We at UKIBC are delighted to support the Sheffield City Region and the Indian Growth Champions through these events and look forward to further supporting through the virtual trade mission running throughout February. Many of the India Growth Champions are already succeeding in India, and with our continued support we are confident that this success story will continue to grow.”

Sir Nigel Knowles, International Advisor to the Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “This Roundtable was a great opportunity for some prominent local businesses to build relationships with contacts that could be useful to them in the Maharashtra region of India. There were some great discussions about how participants in the India Growth Champion Scheme could work with partners in India, which of course makes it all so worthwhile.”

He added: “India offers huge potential in the digitisation of advanced manufacturing and shares many industrial synergies with our region.  We hope this will be just the start of a series of Roundtable discussions, for mutual benefit.”

In our recent ’Doing Business in India Report 2020’, 66 per cent of businesses surveyed said that they believed it was becoming easier to do trade with India, thanks to progressive reforms and improvements in components of India’s business environment such as the availability of support and service providers, skilled labour, and supply chain.

The Sheffield City Region has also seen strong demand recently from this region’s businesses for support and guidance with increasing exports to India. In 2015, the Sheffield City Region exported £81m worth of goods to India – making it the region’s 12th largest trading partner. In 2017, the Sheffield City Region introduced the strategy: ‘Make in India, Design and Develop with the Sheffield City Region’. Since then, the relationship between the Sheffield City Region and India has grown and developed and has been able to open up greater trading opportunities. In total, there are 447 businesses in South Yorkshire that currently export to India.

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