Generation UK-India: Digital India

Monday, 12 October 2015

As part of the Generation UK-India Programme, Digital India is a two-week immersion into India’s technology and startup ecosystem, seeking to highlight collaboration opportunities in which young people from the UK and India can work together.

Digital India (30 September – 13 October) has been created for young people from the UK keenly interested in exploring the relationship between technology entrepreneurship, India, and their own career. It has featured visits and workshops at IIT Bombay, IIIT Bangalore and IIM Bangalore; visits to Indian tech companies like Myntra and Infosys; multi-nationals including Microsoft Ventures, Twitter and IBM as well as social enterprises like the mid-day meal provider Akshay Patra

Digital India is part of the Cultural Immersion Strand of the British Council Generation UK-India Programme which is delivered by IndoGenius. Generation UK-India is a new student mobility programme launched by the British Council in November 2014. Working with partners in the UK and India, the British Council aims to encourage up to 25,000 young people from the UK to gain professional and academic skills and experience in India over the next 5 years.
This programme will build on the successful Generation UK initiative in China and the UKIERI Study India programme and will align with the strategies of UK Government and universities to increase outward mobility among young people in the UK.

40 budding entrepreneurs from the UK have taken part in the Generation UK-India Digital India Programme. The participants spent time in Mumbai where they also visited Dharavi, the Bombay Stock Exchange and a village in rural Maharashtra. The group then moved on to Bangalore - the heart of India’s tech ecosystem.

Mei-kwei Barker, Director, British Council South India says, “Our Generation UK-India Programme has supported 500 participants in the first year, building on the success of the UKIERI Study India Programme, which over the past 4 years has supported over 1000 students undertake a placement in India, but this is just the beginning. We have the ambition to work with partners to support up to 25,000 students to come to India over the next 5 years to 2020 in order to future proof this most important UK-India bilateral relationship. India’s technology and innovation ecosystem is the ideal place for young entrepreneurs. In Bangalore, the participants have connected with many of the leading entrepreneurs driving India’s digital revolution and developed the knowledge and connections needed to learn from and collaborate within this growing environment.”

The keynote address was delivered by T V Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Manipal Global Education who spoke about the innovations and importance of disruptive technologies and how it is changing the future of India.

One of the participants, Marianne Caroline Hughes, Founder of a digital clothes label - The Button, says, "I can't believe how quickly I've been able to develop my business in just two short weeks. Whilst in Mumbai I was able to get my prototype 3D printed and in Bangalore the software coded! Thanks to the British Council and IndoGenius I’m meeting potential partners, suppliers and even clients."

Additional Information on the Digital India Programme

Candidate Profile

Over 7000 young people from across the UK applied for the Cultural Immersion Strand and more than 200 specifically for Digital India. The 40 entrepreneurs come from over 30 different UK universities and range in age from 19 to 42. More than 50% of the participants are 21-22 years old and about 90% aged 26 or below. 50% of participants have just completed their undergraduate degrees, while more than one third already has a startup they are seeking to scale.

Participant Aims

These 40 entrepreneurs have helped collect insight on their specific objectives. It is most common for participants to be at the early ideation phase with their start-up, but there is representation across the start-up development life cycle with about five participants focused on scaling an existing start-up.

These start-ups hope to disrupt a wide variety of industries and sectors, the most common being education, e-commerce, healthcare, social media and data analytics. However there is truly a wide variety of ideas touching everything from heritage tourism to wearable technology. Of course networking is a key aim of all participants, but these participants also bring specific aims and objectives with them.

  • Validation: The UK entrepreneurs are looking to test key assumptions behind their start-up ideas including applicability to the Indian context.
  • Hiring: Many are keen to collaborate with India’s technical talent - particularly outsourcing development and other key services to teams in India.
  • Investing: Many view India as a key market for their business and hope to enter the Indian market to gain users for their product or service.

When asked whom they were most hoping to meet, the most common answers were start-up mentors, young entrepreneurs, outsourcing contacts, market entry experts and potential investors.

In fact, 30 of 40 participants indicated they would be in a position to pitch their startup to investors and other mentors by the end of the programme. Half a dozen will be picked to do just that to Indian tech-industry leaders like Mohandas Pai at an event held in the offices of Microsoft Ventures.

Notes to Editor

Generation UK India website: and
Videos: Generation UK-India: Gain experience and skills in India

Generation UK-India FAQs
What will be the opportunities through Generation UK-India?

Programme Structure
Generation UK-India aims to provide more opportunities for young people from the UK to gain experience and skills and connect with India. In 2015 we have created the following opportunities:

Cultural Immersion placements (400 placements)
Two week placements offering participants the chance to experience institutions work in India and engage with peers to build an understanding of and connection with India. Activities include workshops, lectures and panel discussions hosted by academic and industry experts, as well as group challenges.

Funded by UKIERI and delivered by IndoGenius we are offering 400 cultural immersion placements across 3 different programmes in 2015:

Study India (300 places) – introduction to contemporary India studying economy, history, culture and current affairs
Make in India (60 places) – a focus on India’s manufacturing industry from high end technology to rural artisans
Digital India (40 places) – exploration of India’s technology and innovation ecosystem whilst developing entrepreneurship.

Teaching Assistantships (100 places)
Role: Teaching placements in Indian private schools teaching a range of subjects including English and offering participants the chance to develop their teaching skills and share knowledge about UK culture.

Duration: Placements start in July, August or October for a period of 2 or 6 months.

Host schools: 55 Indian private schools will host 100 Teaching Assistants from the UK.
They are from 18 states across India:
Puducherry, Punjab, Delhi, Odisha, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Maharastra, Adra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Telengana, Jammu, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu

We are also working with KPMG to place assistants in 5 schools they support.

435 candidates applied from 88 different UK institutions.

Future plans

Over the coming years we hope to develop a wider range of placements including internships in Indian organisations and study placements in Indian universities.
We also hope to support a large number of opportunities for engagement through our Think India strand. This will include:

  • Increased information and guidance through face to face briefings and online support and training
  • Institutional partnership support and guidance
  • Funding opportunities

What will be the benefits of Generation UK-India?

Greater number of UK young people undertaking study and work experience abroad supporting the strategies of the UK and devolved governments, as outlined in the July 2013 Government policy paper ‘International education strategy: global growth and prosperity’

  • Stronger links and partnerships built between the UK and India with increased understanding, engagement and trust
  • The creation of lasting connections, networks and partnerships between programme participants and their counterparts in India that will be the basis for future collaboration
  • Increased awareness of India as a destination for UK young people to visit to study and work
  • The creation of a network of talented and ambitious young people from the UK who will form a future workforce ready to work with India and Indian companies.
  • Increased probability that people from the UK will enter into business relationships with India, study in India and visit India again as a result of having spent a significant amount of time in the country.
  • Further internationalisation of Indian companies and academic institutions through hosting a participant from the UK.
  • Improved career prospects for young people in the UK and India by offering international opportunities that will develop the skills and experience recognised by employers as vital to the success of businesses in a competitive global market.

About the British Council

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7,000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes. The British Council was established in India in 1948. The British Council is recognised across India for its network of 9 libraries and cultural centres. We offer a range of specialised projects in arts, education, exams, English language and society to audiences across India and more than 100,000 members. We also provide access to English language training and learning for both students and teachers, offer UK qualifications in India and enable opportunities to study in the UK.
Our English language teaching centres in Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata provide a range of general and business English classes, specialised skills based programmes and young learner courses. We work with a wide range of Indian partners in cities all over India enabling British and Indian experts to meet and collaborate and to nurture mutually beneficial relationships.