Brexit or no Brexit: London is open for Indian business

Brexit or no Brexit: London is open for Indian business
Brexit or no Brexit: London is open for Indian business

The CEO of London's economic development agency, London & Partners, flags up the British capital's many positives in an attempt to convince Indian companies not to be put off by the recent referendum in favour of Britain's exit from the European Union. Last year, London's economic development company, London & Partners, ran a programme to discover those Indian start-up businesses which are most likely to go global. We flew the most exciting companies in adtech, cyber security, artificial intelligence, ecommerce, analytics and other sectors to London to participate in an acceleration bootcamp programme. Our aim was to strengthen the economic ties between UK and Indian entrepreneurs and investors, and to show them that London was a great place from which to go global. Since then, the UK public has voted in a referendum to leave the European Union (EU). As a result, some people, writing in the media, are questioning Britain's place in the world and are worried about its future trading relationship with the European block. Despite the current period of uncertainty and transition, London's fundamental strengths as a global business centre remain in place: its unmatched, international talent base; its business friendly environment; its deep financial markets; its global trading reach and its warm welcome.

In recent days I've heard first hand from some of London's, EU-born entrepreneurs that they feel 'battered and bruised' by the result of our referendum. They have begun to question whether or not London is really where they want to be. I would like to tell them - and all my friends in India - that London remains the most welcoming city I know. I moved to London 19 years ago and I will never grow tired of its wonders. Tourists, from all over the world, are coming here in record numbers to sample our rich heritage and culture. Without the 40 per cent of London's residents who were born overseas and who now call London home, we would be poorer and our lives would be less colourful. London's attractiveness for workers, visitors and students has not been changed by the Brexit poll. London is also home to more than 250 foreign banks. In fact, there are more American banks based in London than there are in New York. There are more banking head offices in London than anywhere else in the world. London's global financial capital status has not been changed by the Brexit vote. In recent years, London's tech community has grown rapidly to overtake clusters in New York and Shanghai. Today, more software engineers work in London than do in Stockholm, Dublin and Berlin combined. London is attracting record risk capital investment and seeing record numbers of exits - second only to Silicon Valley. The strengths of London's extraordinary, creative, start-up and scale up community has not been changed by the Brexit vote. Moreover, 40 per cent of the world's top companies have chosen London for their HQ operation and we are Europe's leading city for patent registrations in healthcare, wireless technology, video games, multimedia and software. London's business-friendly environment and unmatched, professional services cluster have not been changed by the Brexit vote. Today, the level of trade and cooperation between our great countries and cities is stronger than ever. To put this into some context: since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UK last year, Indian and British companies have signed $13-billion worth of deals. In recent years, my company, London & Partners, has also attracted hundreds of Indian businesses to London, looking to trade with the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. Since 2005, we have seen a 117 per cent increase in Indian companies investing in London. While these companies have come from all business sectors, no more so than tech, which accounted for 46 per cent of all investments. London is, and will always be, a truly global, trading city - a city which is constantly looking outward to engage with the rest of the world. Over the next two years, or more, the UK will remain in the European Union, with all the rights and obligations that this entails. During this time, London's Mayor, Sadiq Khan, will work closely with our national government to negotiate favourable terms for a future trading relationship and close cooperation with the European Union. Our government will also forge closer ties with the emerging powerhouses of the global economy, with India at the top of this list. In short, now is the time to focus on securing the best possible arrangements for London and the wider UK, for the millions of people who were born here and who have chosen to make this city their home. I am immensely proud to work for this great city and I stand fully alongside the Mayor of London when he says that we are committed to working ever more closely to build stronger alliances between cities across Europe and around the world. London's economic strength was built on its extraordinary, creative talent, both home grown and from overseas. Its international, cosmopolitan status enriches our lives and contributes to the city's cultural dynamism. My message to Indian businesses, students and tourists is that London is open for business. We will welcome you with open arms. And we will remain open for many centuries to come. #Londonisopen Gordon Innes is Chief Executive of London & Partners, London's economic development agency. Prior to joining L&P, he worked for the UK's Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

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