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Welcome to the West Midlands India Partnership – a new initiative which aims to enhance UK-India relations and boost Trade & Investment, Connectivity and Partnerships between the West Midlands and India.

The Partnership will support the region’s long-term economic growth plans by developing stronger links and opportunities for collaboration as part of a five-year programme of activity with the Indian market. 

West Midlands India Partnership (WMIP) was launched on Friday 26 June 2020 in a virtual event attracting over 300 people online from across the world. You can view the launch here.

The WMIP will build on India’s strong track record of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the West Midlands, acting as a single point-of-contact for potential new investors.

The region’s strong business offer has already attracted some of India’s biggest companies, including Tata Motors, State Bank of India, Infosys, OLA, Enzen Global, Suprajit Group, Elder Pharmaceuticals and more recently, Microland.

The Partnership will develop stronger ties with India beyond the transactional relationship and will aim to work on areas of mutual benefit through civic partnerships, cultural collaborations and working on the living bridge of over 200,00 people of Indian origin. WMIP aims to expand on this strong base through targeted marketing and communications campaigns to encourage new Indian visitors and businesses to the West Midlands which is a part of its robust tourism strategy.

The West Midlands India Partnership will be governed by two separate boards comprised of senior stakeholders, leaders and representatives. The Advisory Board will be responsible for the strategic direction of the Partnership, providing advice and guidance to the Executive Board, which will shape the planning and delivery of the programme’s activity: 

Advisory board 

Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman Cobra Partnership & President, Confederation of British Industry

Karan Bilimoria is the founder of Cobra Beer, Chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership Limited, a Joint Venture with Molson Coors, and Chairman of Molson Coors Cobra India.

Lord Bilimoria is the Founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council, a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, a former Chancellor of Thames Valley University (now the University of West London); he was the youngest University Chancellor in the UK when appointed. In June 2020, he was appointed President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). 

Dr. Aman Puri, Consul General, Consulate General of India

Dr. Aman Puri assumed charge of Consul General of India, birminghma in February 2017. He is a member of the Indian Foreign Service having joined in 2003. he served at the Indian Mission to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg, based in Brussels, 2005-08. He served at the Passport Office in Chandigarh from 2009-10. 

Andy Street, OBE, Mayor of the West Midlands, West Midlands Combined Authority

Andy Street was elected as the first Mayor of the West Midlands on May 4 2017. The primary function of the role is to chair the West Midlands Combined Authority and brings with it significant powers over transport, housing, skills and jobs.

Before becoming Mayor, Andy combined a career with John Lewis, Britain’s most successful workers’ co-operative, with a host of high-profile economic development roles, working with local and national government.

He was the Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership between 2011 and 2016, helping to build the relationships that have underpinned the economic growth of the region. 

Rt Hon The Baroness Usha Prashar of Runnymede CBE, PC Chairperson, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry – UK (FICCI UK)   

Baroness Prashar is a crossbench member of the House of Lords and served on the European Union Select Committee and chaired its Sub-Committee on Home Affairs. She was also a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights and Select Committee on Economic Regulation.

She is currently a member of the Advisory Committee on Freedom of Information, and EU Internal Markets Sub-Committee. She is a non-executive director of Nationwide Building Society and Chairperson of Cumberland Lodge, an educational charity.                                                                                                                   

Tricia Warwick MCIM, Director Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa for VisitBritain

Tricia Warwick is an internationally accomplished and polished, Sales and Marketing Director, with a proven track record of success, at C-suite level, with blue-chip organisations.

As Visit Britain APMEA Director, her priorities for the region include: developing commercial partnerships, providing regional market analysis to improve Britain’s competitive position overseas and driving inspiration and conversion to visit and explore Britain through our consumer marketing. 

Kevin McCole, COO, UKIBC

Kevin joined the UK India Business Council in December 2008 and has a range of responsibilities: coordinating the work of the team across the UK and Indian offices; directly leading the Advocacy, Advisory, Membership, Communications and Research teams.

He also leads the UKIBC’s relationships with the Department for International Trade, and directs the UKIBC’s engagement with Government bodies across the UK and India, including the UK’s Devolved Administrations, English cities, and Indian States. 

Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive, Birmingham Women's and Children's Hospital                                                                                                                               Appointed Chief Operating Officer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in December 2007, and Chief Executive just over a year later, whilst still only 32, the Trust has been under her leadership for ten years now and was named ‘Provider Trust of the Year’ by the Health Service Journal in 2015, and rated Outstanding by the CQC in February 2017.

In 2015, Sarah-Jane took on the additional role of Chief Executive of Birmingham Women’s, before going on to integrate the two Trusts to create the first Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust in Europe in little more than 18 months

Margot James, Executive Chair Warwick Manufacturing Group 

Margot James has had a wide ranging career which has spanned working for the UK Government and has championed the need to expand opportunities for diverse groups of young people.

Margot served as Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with responsibility for Digital, Telecoms and the Creative Industries, piloting the Data Protection Bill through Parliament, incorporating GDPR into UK law. Previously she served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with responsibility for small businesses, consumers and corporate governance, including labour markets.

Anil Puri, Chairman, Purico Group Ltd.

Anil is Chairman of Purico Limited, based in Nottingham and has executive responsibilities for the Head Office management functions of this leading edge international manufacturing group.

Purico has businesses based in the UK, USA, Germany, China and Mexico.  The Purico Group employs 4000 people, mainly in manufacturing.  Purico is a diversified, industrial manufacturing company with interests with interests in :Paper Manufacture, Polymers and Plastics, IT and Communications, Engineering, Hospitality, Real Estate and Property Investments.  

Meenu Malhotra, Chairman, Malhotra Group of Companies

Meenu Malhotra is founder and Chairman of Malhotra Group PLC. Educated at Sacred Heart Convent School in Ludhiana, India, Meenu came to the UK in 1979 aged nineteen years. 

Named Asian Businessman of the Year in 2009, his entrepreneurial skills are internationally acknowledged. Meenu is involved in seven separate industries and presides on several regional and international boards. He is an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurs Forum whilst also mentoring some twenty SME’s and business start ups.

Director, Jaguar Land Rover Awaiting update 

Executive Board 

Dr. Jason Wourha, Chairman West Midlands India Partnership

Jason Wouhra is the Chair of the West Midlands India Partnership. 
Jason was director and company secretary of East End Foods plc and he recently established Lioncroft Wholesale Limited and re-purchased East End Foods’ wholesale division. He is an Institute of Directors (IoD) chartered director and became the youngest and first BAME chairman of the IoD in the West Midlands in 2013.
Other prominent positions include non-executive director of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, member of the Governing Body of Aston University as well as past and present chairmanships of the Library of Birmingham Advisory Board, Birmingham Child Poverty Commission, and vice chair of the Black Country LEP.

Stephen Page, Midlands International Markets Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Steve is a Tax Partner with 29 years of experience in advising larger business navigate the complexities of the UK and International tax system. He enjoys working together in partnership with FDs and internal tax functions to ensure that they add value to their organisations, and embed taxation into their wider business process.

He has a wealth of experience in deals and international tax matters that enable him to ensure that the full breadth of any taxation issues and related matters are identified and dealt with.

Ninder Johal, Founder, Nachural

Ninder Johal runs a music and event production company which hosts the Signature Awards, the Nachural Entrepreneurship Awards and the Nachural Summer Business Awards.

Ninder is a Board member of the Black Country LEP, The West Midlands 5G, Board Governor of the University of Wolverhampton, Elected member of the West Midlands CBI, NED at  Accord Housing and BCRS, Trustee of Albion Foundation ( part of WBA ), Trustee of Victoria Academy,  He is also a Board member of the West Midlands Growth Company, West Midlands India Partnership, the West Midlands Combined Authority and Chair of the Wolverhampton Town Fund.

Lakshmi Kaul, Director UK, Confederation of Indian Industry 

Lakshmi Kaul is service professional with over 15 years of work experience in the non-profit sector; her experience ranges from relationship building, communications, public relations, research, strategy and policy work to creating community networks and building focussed campaigns promoting the interest of India in the UK.

Lakshmi considers her current appointment as a great opportunity to highlight the priorities of the Indian business community. She hopes to bring to the role the insights she has gained from her experience of working the UK Parliament and wishes to leverage existing platforms for Indian companies in the UK as well as UK companies interested in India. 

Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Birmingham City University

Professor Beer is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Enterprise) at Birmingham City University (BCU). He is Professor of Knowledge Transfer at BCU and an Emeritus Professor at Plymouth University and a Visiting Professor at BML Munjal University, India and a Visiting professor at LP University in India.

He is a founding Member of the Institute of Knowledge Transfer and a Fellow of the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange as well as, a longstanding member of the British Sociological Association. He has an extensive track record in designing, developing and leading flagship programmes, projects and partnerships. 

Trevor Ivory, Partner, DLA Piper 

Trevor Ivory is the Office Managing Partner for DLA Piper, Birmingham.

Trevor practices in the area of real estate planning, with particular focus on delivering large-scale strategic development projects, planning appeals and judicial review. His clients include some of the largest developers in the UK as well as major landowners and public sector bodies.

Kalpesh Avasia, Executive Director, State Bank of India UK

Kalpesh K Avasia is a seasoned banking professional who has grown with the State Bank group  over 3 decades. He moved to the UK in February 2018, on secondment from State Bank of India, to launch SBI’s UK-headquartered retail banking subsidiary, which started operations in April 2018.  

Having been in the UK since April 1921, State Bank of India is completing a century of its presence in this country. In the centenary year of its presence in the UK, the Bank is proud to be associated with the West Midlands India Partnership initiative, and looks forward to working together with representatives from a wide cross section of the business and academic world to make this initiative a great success.

Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International), University of Birmingham 

Professor Robin Mason joined the University of Birmingham in March 2016, as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (International). A member of the University’s executive, he has responsibility for all aspects of the University’s global engagement. He moved to Birmingham after seven years at the University of Exeter, where he was first Professor of Economics, then appointed Dean of the University’s Business School in 2011, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean in 2015. 

His academic research concentrates on how firms respond strategically to uncertainty; and, more broadly, the incentives faced by economic agents in situations when they have imperfect information about their environment. 

Dr. Aman Puri, Consul General, Consulate General of India 

Dr. Aman Puri assumed charge of Consul General of India, birminghma in February 2017. He is a member of the Indian Foreign Service having joined in 2003. he served at the Indian Mission to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg, based in Brussels, 2005-08. He served at the Passport Office in Chandigarh from 2009-10. 

Roger Mendoca, Chief Operating Officer, West Midlands Growth Company 

Roger has been working in a Senior Executive role on the delivery frontline of the public sector for the last decade. He has led start-ups, closures and turnarounds and has wide-ranging experience of all operational matters, including organisational design and the creation and maintenance of a culture of excellence.

Roger's previous roles include Director at the GBSLEP, Director of Studies at Civil Service College, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at West Northamptonshire Development Corporation, and Senior Policy Adviser at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

With Commonwealth Games 2022 on the horizon, the Partnership will work towards bringing the best of India to the West Midlands and on taking the best of the region to India. Taking leadership around all India activities, there is a strong interest to lead one of the biggest delegations to India in the run up to the commonwealth games utilising its membership and stakeholders across the region. 

For further details on the West Midlands India Partnership, please contact Ghanshyam Nabar, 
India Partnership Director on Ghanshyam.nabar@wmgrowth.com

You can follow West Midlands India Partnership on Twitter - @WMidlandsIndia and on LinkedIn