A four-strong group of government and trade officials from India arrived in Wolverhampton and spent two days discovering what opportunities exist for investment and cooperation.
The trip was a direct result of a trade mission which took place last November where Wolverhampton City Council chief executive Simon Warren led a similar delegation alongside the University of Wolverhampton to Bangalore.
Back then a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Confederation of Indian Industry, Wolverhampton City Council and the University of Wolverhampton to promote business opportunities at every available opportunity.
The city council’s economic development department is working hand-in-hand with the University in an attempt to boost skills and bring jobs and investment to Wolverhampton.
Bangalore is the centre of the Indian aerospace industry and Wolverhampton has a thriving aerospace sector of its own. City regeneration chiefs are keen to develop trade links with India to create opportunities for Wolverhampton to do business with one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Councillor Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton City Council's cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: "We are delighted to receive such a distinguished industrial delegation from Bangalore to help develop international trade between our regions as part of our collaboration agreement.
"We are aware that Bangalore is a bustling industrial region with many similarities to Wolverhampton and we are seeking to maximise the opportunities that exist for mutual benefit."
The delegates were guests of honour at a Civic Reception hosted by the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Malcolm Gwinnett.. There was an exchange of gifts between the Mayor and the delegation’s lead - Dr Raj Kumar Khatri from the Karnataka Udyog Mitra Government of Karnataka, India.
The delegates also toured the I54 business park - a 96 hectare site on the northern boundary of Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire which aims to create 6,000 jobs primarily in the technology sector. It will be promoted as an ideal location for any Indian companies wishing to relocate to the area.
They looked around HS Marston Aerospace headquarters in Fordhouses, and were taken on a trip to Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre and toured Marstons Brewery. The University of Wolverhampton hosted a dinner.
On the second day of their visit, the delegates visited the global aerospace company Goodrich which has a large site in Fordhouses, followed by a tour around Molineux Stadium, home of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club. The Premiership club has extensive links with India and has formed a partnership with JCT FC - a club in the Punjab area of the country.
The University of Wolverhampton is supporting the Indian visit with a focus on innovation and sharing knowledge - particularly in the advanced technologies and skills required by aerospace companies.
A close partnership exists between the University and the city council’s economic development team on keys areas such as inward investment. The partnership is intended to boost trade for the city and targeted Bangalore specifically for its large aerospace sector.
Professor Richard Hall, University of Wolverhampton associate dean and professor of engineering design and simulation, said: "During this visit we will be showcasing Wolverhampton businesses and in particular the aerospace and high technology sectors and discussing how we can collaborate on activities such as innovation, research and development, skills development and bi-lateral trade.
"We also hope to demonstrate how the city council and the university are working together to provide the necessary assistance for our local companies to create the right environment to ensure success so that we can capitalise on the significant growth potential of high value added industries."