The India Business Group (IBG), welcomed guests to their UK – India Business Summit at the Institute of Directors (IoD) on Wednesday 29th May, to open conversation on important topics. Discussions were initiated through panel speakers, each with different agendas.
Guests arrived and were welcomed to refreshments before taking their seats and being introduced to their first speaker, The Lord Patel of Bradford OBE and Chairman of India Business Group. After a few speeches were made by special members, the panel discussion opened with Trade and Investment followed by Innovation and Technology which sparked many questions in the room.
Dr Mohan Kaul, Chairman of Pontaq UK India Innovation Fund said: “20% of technology that is being developed in the UK are supported by the Indian diaspora.” One question asked was “should businesses leverage their technology to educate the next generation?” to which Simon Spier, Head of International Trade at Tech UK replied, “we are not teaching children enough at school. The key is looking at the educational system and introducing them to job shifts as technology is expanding whether we like it or not. Independent learning is also an important factor in this.”
As the conversation ended, Ashis Ray was welcomed to the stage to launch his book, “Cricket World Cup – The Indian Challenge” along with Tom Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). During the short comfort break, the room was filled with conversation and networking before the final panel of Arts, Culture and Sport was introduced.
Actress, Social Activist and President of Mijwan Welfare Society, Shabana Azmi joined the panel together with Manish Tiwari, Managing Director of Here and Now 365, Mike Vidler, Head of India Bilateral Team at Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Debarshi Pandit, Head of Multicultural Business and Special Project at Sky Media and Tom Harrison, CEO at England and Wales Cricket Board. Manish Tiwari, who partnered with The Business Group to help organise the event said “the summit signified the excellence of the UK and India partnership. Cultural affinity has become the driving force behind how we see ourselves rather than old concepts of nationhood and mother land. The global world has created migration as a way of life, and we are not bound by geography rather our affinity. Sports is an important tool to break through identity politics and a great way to forge friendships.”
One comment made by Debarshi Pandit from Sky Media was “whenever we air a program with culture included, our views go rocketing up” before a question was asked of “how do we get girls more involved in sports and film etc?” Shabana Azmi noted that we are “still under patriarchal views in some parts of the world which makes it difficult for young or mature girls” as well as Tom Harrison adding, “although cricket is predominately played by men, the game can appeal to different communities if only you give it a chance and get involved.”
Manish Tiwari took pride in highlighting the fact that women make up the majority in his organisation and therefore “it is important to understand their needs and what they enjoy in order to bring a change in existing attitudes and perceptions towards their participation in sports and arts.” Most of the discussion was also based on the influence of the Cricket World Cup bringing together many people from around the world including India into the UK which was a pleasant conversation as the ceremony was to begin after the business summit in London.
Closing remarks were made by the host before Shabana Azmi was presented with a signed football by the Southampton Football Club as a gift for her charitable work with Mijwan Welfare Society.