Futuristic Ecosystems for Digital Entrepreneurships: UK-India cross border collaborations for enhancing Knowledge-Economy

Lead Research Organisation: London School of Economics & Pol Sci
Department Name: STICERD


Entrepreneurship has been of interest for economists since Schumpeter (1954), who emphasised the "creative gale of destruction". In the process of exploiting new opportunities, entrepreneurs enhance productivity in the overall economy (Kirzner, 1973). The opportunities for entrepreneurship have expanded with innovation in digital technologies such as mobile computing, social media and data analytics (Nambisan, 2017). The diffusion of skills and technology and its absorption by firms generate new kind of jobs, enhances productivity and prosperity for both UK and India. Advancements in digital technologies have been expanding rapidly during the current fourth industrial revolution and internet of everything, however, systematic analyses pertaining to the potential for trade and cross border investments is yet scare. Thus, our study will analyse the potential for UK-India cross border trade and investments involving Digital Entrepreneurships.

UK and India are strongly committed to encouraging entrepreneurship. The exchange of knowledge, ideas and investment is facilitated strongly through established and emerging networks between India and UK both top down and bottom up, through students, working professionals and diaspora. The potential for joint action for enhanced prosperity between India and UK extends to collaborations in entrepreneurships, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs). While there has been some work on examining the nature of industry, the business functions involved, the institutions that support it and the technologies (Gomber et al., 2017), there is little research on how this sector interacts with the rest of the economy. Hence we will examine current and future scope for UK-India trade and investment through digital entrepreneurship to enhance knowledge economy and provide a 360-degree view of the nature and impact for enhanced sharing of human and financial resources.

This study undertakes structured evidence-based trans-disciplinary research using mixed-methodology involving primary and secondary data. Primary data will be collected from universities-based incubators in UK and India.

In this context, we will conduct an overview of existing ecosystem within and between UK and India for digital entrepreneurships including financial services/FinTech firms. We will examine the opportunities and challenges for cross border collaborations in terms of the role played by such entrepreneurships for reducing transaction costs, enhancing credit flows, and creating a virtuous cycle of investment. We will also examine existing and potential opportunities for supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the informal sector entrepreneurship, including trade financing, invoice financing and peer-to-peer lending. We will also explore existing and necessary mechanisms to enable inclusion and equal opportunity. This study will also examine current policies and regulations to ascertain opportunities for enhancing co-operation as well as identify challenges to suggest improvements to overcome potential bottlenecks to enhance co-operation and enable mutual prosperity.

Based on our analyses, we will develop potential future ecosystems toward further UK-India trade and cross border investments toward enhancing mutual economic growth and prosperity in a changing global environment.

Planned Impact

As a first of its kind research focusing on ecosystems for digital entrepreneurships across UK-India cross border investments, the outcomes of the proposed study are expected to have substantial impact across a range of government bodies, private organizations including small and medium enterprises and start-ups, academics including universities-based incubation centres, and various other communities. The major stakeholders include Ministeries of Business, Trade, Commerce, Economics, Innovation and Technology, Human Capital Development, Skills and Employment (T-levels, Start-up India, Skills India) in UK and India. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) and various umbrella agencies including The National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), an official dealing with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Business and Technology Organisations including Confederation of Business Industries (CBI), DFID, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), FICCI, NASSCOM and others. The analyses involving fintech would be of interest to Central Banks (Reserve Bank of India, Financial Services Authority), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), City of London, and other financial institutions including those involved in fintech in UK and India. Innovation and research parks, and incubators clusters across educational institutions in UK and India particularly those directly supporting incubation centres would particularly benefit from learning based on this research for future expansion and development.

A dedicated website would be created during the early stages of the project through the LSE India Observatory in UK and linking with partner institutions in India. This will provide an online platform enabling open access to all knowledge products that would be generated through this project. We plan to organise an inception workshop in the UK and one in India to bring together stakeholders (including entrepreneurs) in order to ensure all aspects of this research are covered. In the UK, we will arrange one workshop in the second year and a final workhop. In India we plan to organise two workshops in the second year and two workshops in the final year, including one workshop at the conclusion of the project. These workshops as well as webinars we plan to organise, would provide opportunities to exchange and assimilate knowledge.

The research team has a consistent track record for impactful research and policy intervention. Kattumuri (PI) has been involved with technology, innovation and social entrepreneurship for over twenty-five years including when she was professor of Computer Science in India. She works closely with Professor Lord Stern (Adviser) for over a decade to influence and impact policy, business leadership and cross border collaborations in India and UK at the highest level. Ahmad's (PI) research focusses on international finance with special reference to cross-country investment, corporate finance and Indian banking and non-banking system. Phani (CI) is an expert in entrepreneurship and innovation and has been responsible for setting incubators across IITs and IIMs. He is currently mentoring several start-ups and is board member of incubators set up in different areas including fintech, biotechnology, technovation, grassroots entrepreneurship, academic entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurship. Additionally we plan to convene advisory group meetings regularly for guidance and support. We will involve our advisors for enhancing dissemination amd making it impactful when communicating with high level policy makers, practitioners and research community.


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