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UK University, Hero Group join hands to promote innovation in India


The institute will promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the country’s Punjab state and will cater to the needs of the industrial sector (Photo: JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP via Getty Images).

THE Hero Group and Birmingham City University plan to establish an institute in India.

The project, Munjal BCU School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MBSI), will come up in the northern Indian city of Ludhiana.

The institute will promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the country’s Punjab state and will cater to the needs of the industrial sector.

MBSI plans to take a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) oriented approach to higher education.

The plan will utilise the strengths of each of these streams to power innovation and productivity in the state.

STEAMhouse, pioneered by Birmingham City University, is designed as a centre for innovation, research, and creative production where technology, art, and design are used to nurture innovation and creativity.

Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “After nearly nine months of negotiations, I am delighted to announce that Birmingham City University and the Hero Group, through the Munjal Foundation, are working towards establishing the Munjal-BCU Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2020, which is effectively our STEAMHouse in India.

“This is great news for West Midlands and Birmingham’s relationship with India, and a real trade connection post the General Election and potentially Brexit, with two powerhouses of the Commonwealth.

“STEAM has the ability to transform economies across the globe and by developing this way of thinking and this way of working, we can make a real difference to businesses and communities worldwide, and this partnership is a real step forward in this journey.”

Punjab is home to around 50,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) spread across the clusters of Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Mohali, Patiala, Mandi, Gobindgarh, and other areas of the state.

Many such SMEs are reasonably successful and managed by third and fourth generation entrepreneurs.

Yet for a variety of reasons, a significant number still exist as SMEs and are typically characterised by low levels of innovation and technology absorption.

One possible reason for this inability to scale is the lack of a platform to come together, discuss and develop opportunities to scale up, perform R&D, practise innovation and re-visit business models necessary in a rapidly changing world.

The proposed MBSI aims to establish a common, independent platform that facilitates innovation and builds an entrepreneurship ecosystem in the state.

A high-level delegation led by Birmingham City University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Philip Plowden, Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Julian Beer, and Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Alison Honour is visiting Punjab during Progressive Punjab Investment Summit 2019 to finalise the details of the proposed Munjal-BCU School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.