News release

Indian diaspora owned businesses’ contribution to the UK

A new research report celebrating the contribution of Indian diaspora in the UK highlights the value of Indian diaspora-owned businesses to the UK economy.

The research, India in the UK: the diaspora effect, completed by Grant Thornton UK LLP in collaboration with the High Commission of India in the UK and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI UK), found that 654 Indian diaspora-owned companies in the UK have a turnover of at least £100,000*.

These businesses are making a significant contribution to the UK economy, recording combined revenues of £36.84 billion and employing just over 174,000 people. They also pay over £1 billion in corporation tax and invest close to £2 billion through capital expenditure.

The report aims to help develop a better understanding of the contributions of businesses owned by people of Indian origin to the UK and builds on the insight developed by the annual ‘India Meets Britain’ tracker** which provides a picture of the fastest-growing Indian companies in the UK, as well as the top Indian employers.

Biggest Indian diaspora employers

Major employers (those employing more than 1000 people) among Indian diaspora-owned businesses, generate a total of over 140,000 jobs. The largest employer is B&M Retail Ltd, employing almost 26,500 people, while food and beverage company Boparan Holdings provides close to 22,000 jobs across the UK. Of the top employers, those in the hospitality and the food and beverage sectors account for nearly a quarter of the total employment.

Diaspora entrepreneurs favour real estate, trading and medicine

The research shows that the 654 large Indian diaspora-owned businesses are focused on five key sectors: hospitality, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, retail and wholesale, real estate and construction, and food and beverage. This focus reflects the natural inclinations of the diaspora community towards real estate, trading and medicine. The report predicts that over time, with the emergence of second and third generations, this focus will evolve.

Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam, High Commissioner of India to the UK, said:

“The Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi, warmly describes the UK’s Indian diaspora community as a ‘living bridge’ between the two countries. With not only valuable contributions to industry and business, but also to the areas of academia, literature, arts, medicine, science, sport and politics, the diaspora adds to the rich tapestry of British culture, which is widely acknowledged and appreciated. Though this report looks only at the businesses with an annual turnover of more than £100,000 we hope that contributions of the many smaller enterprises will be added in future reports.”

Anuj Chande, Partner and Head of South Asia Group at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said:

“This report aims to highlight the enormous contribution of the Indian diaspora living in the UK, across all walks of life. Since the 1950s, Indians have come to the UK to contribute to the country’s economic development, or in the case of Indian’s expelled from Uganda, to seek refuge. Today almost 1.5 million strong, they make up one of the most prosperous and dynamic ethnic minority communities in the UK.

“A flair for entrepreneurship sees Indian diaspora-run businesses making an increasingly important contribution to the UK economy. Our research suggests there are now more than 65,000 Indian diaspora-owned businesses in the UK. From trailblazers such as the late Lord Gulam Noon MBE who arrived in the UK with just £50 in the 1970s and built a business empire catering to Britain’s love of curry, to new generation Britons of Indian Heritage such as Rishi Khosla of Oaknorth Bank or the Arora brothers of the B&M retail chain, the Indian diaspora community is a powerful force in the UK economy.”

The Rt. Hon. Baroness Usha Prashar of Runnymede CBE, PC and Chairperson FICCI UK said:

“The economic contribution of the Indian diaspora in the UK is rightly applauded and commented upon, but to date it has not been quantified. This report is an attempt to fill that gap. It provides very helpful information which we hope will be built upon in the future. The key findings are matter for both pride and celebration.”