Sharon McKendry, our international head of life sciences, on our recent industry trade mission to India and the opportunities it revealed for Scottish companies.
The end of June saw me depart from Glasgow bound for Hyderabad on a whirlwind tour of India and its life sciences’ companies, press and locally-based Scottish Development International colleagues.
The message I carried was clear: in the face of the challenges we face globally, no single company, health provider, clinician or researcher can overcome them alone and in isolation.
No one of us is as smart or as innovative as all of us coming together to tackle a challenge or exploit an opportunity.
That’s the Scottish way: working together is the key to driving innovation and creating solutions to current and future global healthcare challenges.
It didn't take long to uncover several areas where Scotland and India might well be able to work together.
Six days, six locations and over 30 companies
There were certainly plenty of opportunities to spread our message of collaborative innovation.
There were meetings, meetings, meetings and more meetings.
We met companies we wanted to build stronger relationships with. New companies with potential. And those we had already been working with as part of a wider supply chain project.
Last, but not least, we met Scottish companies with operations in India.
It didn’t take long to uncover where Scotland and India might be able to work together.
An example was one of the supply chain companies we had been talking to over the past nine months.They were interested in working with our universities, the Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban, and understanding more about our toxicology and formulation expertise. Certainly, a potential candidate to work with the wider Scottish pharma services company base.
A major round-table event in Bangalore, with a large group of media and local companies, had a senior level industry panel from India. They set the scene as we attempted to plot the road ahead for life sciences as we approach 2020.
Other opportunities related to future food security and sustainability, areas where Scotland’s strengths could certainly come into play.
Most interesting were the views we heard on some of the challenges India was facing from regulations and clinical trials approval. Further evidence of just how much of a USP our trial approval within 20 days actually is.
Other opportunities related to future food security and sustainability – areas where Scotland’s strengths could certainly come in to play.
With all this came a strong recognition that in order to move forward on these big challenges, we need to collaborate more. A perfect set up for my own presentation around the theme of collaborative innovation, a topic that was well-received, not just in the room, but on our social media channels too.
A meeting with KBITS in Bangalore, a government body with whom Scotland has an MOU, continued the theme of working together. Together, we are looking to the opportunities from providing soft landing locations for companies from our respective regions. Again, we saw interest around agritech and an alignment with a variety of Scotland’s strengths.
Mumbai, Goa and Chandigarh were all part of the itinerary with more company meetings looking at defined manufacturing opportunities that we are keen to attract to Scotland.
An attractive eco-system.
Although financial support was key to these companies in order to locate business overseas, there was significant interest in the wider ecosystem that Scotland has to offer.
Our universities in terms of skills and research, our clinical trial environment and our connected and collaborative approach to working.
Seeing the labour-intensive processes in one Indian plant that would have been fully automated in Scotland, further brought home the difference in approach to manufacturing in India where cheap labour means that this is more cost-effective.
Scottish companies in India offering a helping hand
It was important to meet with two of our companies who are operating in India. We spent time with the Clintec team in Bangalore – what a great team and a success story for a Scottish company operating overseas.
Bindhya Cariappa and the team talked through their operations and we were extremely impressed by the huge and wide ranging customer base they service, with glowing testimonials. Impressive too was the willingness of the team to help other Scottish companies navigate the Indian market.
We were also able to meet with Prashant Maniar who is overseeing Omega Diagnostics’ activity in India and the set up of their manufacturing facility. This is due for completion and opening in early 2016.
Our discussions with Prashant highlighted just how key local knowledge and connections are for driving business forward in India. Again, he expressed his willingness to talk to other Scottish companies as they approach and navigate their way through the market.
Incredible India awaits. And we can help.
In most cases, larger companies in India are certainly favouring entering new markets through acquisition of existing entities, rather than set up new from scratch, but the opportunity to collaborate on R&D was certainly appealing.
With regards to trade, ‘Incredible India’ certainly holds potential for the right companies at an appropriate stage of development.
We can support you in many ways. There’s advice and insight from the India specialist on our High Growth Markets team.
On the ground in India, there’s our team of market experts, plus a number of GlobalScots, and a further network of support through DIT colleagues. More than enough help to get your company started on its own Indian journey.
Get support to fast-track your business in India