London: Leading NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul foresees India becoming a hub for world manufacturing industry in the near future and says his $1.5 billion (Rs5,916 crore) Caparo Group remains “very bullish” about the country.
“We think India will become the hub for world manufacturing industry, which is why we are going in that direction,” Paul told a Cambridge Leadership seminar.
Paul, who is the chairman of the Caparo Group, said “at the moment, we are very bullish about India, which is changing very fast and has started enjoying globalization and the benefits from it.”
Recalling that his Group built the first factory in India in 1994, the leading NRI said “then, three years ago, we began investing in India in a big way. “We now have 16 facilities in operation, with another 16 being built which will be ready by 2008-09.”
The one-day seminar on “Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the 21st Century” was organised at the Judge Business School in Cambridge and attended among others by the Indian High Commissioner to the UK Kamalesh Sharma, who was chosen as the Commonwealth secretary general recently in Uganda.
Emphasising the need for entrepreneurs and innovators to work together, Paul, who is also Britain Ambassador for Overseas Business lamented that Britain was losing touch with its innovative base.
He said innovation and entrepreneurship were part of the fabric of modern universities and education institutions should provide the inspirational environment to encourage and develop the next generation of creative thinkers.
These are the people that will improve our standards of living and pay for the healthcare, education, defence and public services we require,“ Paul said
“Innovations come from a multitude of sources. They may come from people in industry, from workers in the service sector, or public sector, or even the lone inventor,” he said adding a good manager recognizes and implements a good idea, irrespective of where it comes from.
“Managers have to be prepared to recognize talent and then adapt it accordingly.”
Paul observed that historically, Britain was always good at innovation because its economy was made up of a great many small and medium sized businesses whose strength was to come up with new products that were simple but more competitive than anyone else.
“Unfortunately, we are losing touch with this innovative base because there is more glamour these days in working for the big companies; and in the big company culture innovation becomes a casualty.
“There is a lot of research and a lot of development, but there are no new products that are user-friendly and different enough to entice the consumer.”
“At the two universities of which I am Chancellor - Westminster and Wolverhampton - we are working to create better links between universities and industry. We are providing ways for entrepreneurs and universities to work together to their mutual benefit.
Paul said “today, Caparo is a conglomerate of small and medium-sized businesses with total sales of $1.5 billion employing some 6,500 people in Europe, North America and India. And we continue to expand.”