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December 2006 - January 2007

Business Forum

Entrepreneurs enter 'Dragon's Den' to become the face of India's creative future

London, 7 November, 2006 Entrepreneurs already tipped for the top are to meet creative industry leaders in the UK before they pitch to a team of investors in a bid to transform their business dreams into reality and become India’s Creative Future 2007.

Pioneered by the British Council in partnership with the Commonwealth Business Council, the Creative Future mentoring programme is designed to nurture the skills of young Indian creative entrepreneurs whilst promoting the pivotal role the UK plays as a creative hub in the global economy.

Chosen for the innovation and commercial viability behind their business proposals during a Creative Future School at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, three successful candidates have beaten off fierce competition for the chance to present their creative ideas to a panel of ‘business angels’ in London on Tuesday 14 November, 2006.

During their visit, they will have the opportunity to meet some of the leading figures in the UK’s creative industry sector. These include Daljit Singh, founder of Digit who recently sold his agency to WPP; Chris O’Reilly and Charlotte Bavasso, co-founders of Nexus Productions; John Newbigin, ex-Channel 4 head of corporate affairs and Nick Hough, chief executive of Lambie Nairn, who was behind BBC2’s hugely successful visual brand identity campaign and went on to become instrumental in changing the face of broadcast design.

Head of Creative Industries at British Council, Andrew Senior, said: ‘The importance of the creative sector to the UK’s continued prosperity cannot be underestimated. London, with its wealth of talent, energy and opportunities for networking and investment, is the most important hub for the global creative economy. The Creative Future programme is a search for excellence amongst the most promising creative entrepreneurs in India. By giving them the opportunity to meet investors here in the UK, they have the chance to secure financial backing that could turn their creative ideas into a commercial enterprise, and we have the opportunity to invest in an economy that is set to deliver significant growth in the next decade.’

Following a further opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors in India, a panel of judges will announce India’s Creative Future 2007 at a glittering red carpet gala in Mumbai attended by creative industry leaders on Thursday 8 February, 2007.

Background to finalists:

Aparna Rao is the driving force behind Bangalore-based design studio Applied Fiction. She will be mentored by founder of global digital agency Digit, Daljit Singh. The 28 year-old postgraduate in Interaction Design has already had experience in designing the first Indian synthetic simulator for a combat aircraft and is now working on a device which motivates the user to preserve sleep as a precious and beautiful living object. Her work has been reviewed widely in Europe, nominated for an Innovation Award in Japan and has also been exhibited in Italy and Dubai. She hopes to develop her business idea by developing and bringing to market aspirational devices that ‘provoke and deepen the perception of everyday life.’

Nila Madhab Panda is a television and film producer with his own production company based in New Delhi. He will be mentored by ex-Channel 4 head of corporate relations, John Newbigin. Nila has already produced one of the most successful drama shows on national Indian television and has won a UN award for his work in 2001. With a strong emphasis on social realism, his creative business idea is to launch a new TV channel that provides gritty and entertaining drama for the growing middle classes in India.

Sheetal Sudhir is the current Creative Head of leading music television station in India, Channel [v]. She will be mentored by co-founders of Nexus Productions, Chris O’Reilly and Charlotte Bavasso. Already demonstrating her strong pedigree in the field with a string of awards to her name including Best Head of Promos Award at the Indian Television Awards consecutively in 2005 and 2006, Sheetal’s creative business idea is to set up the first broadcast design company in India that provides a one-stop-shop for television visual identity.

Creative Future is a mentoring programme that intends to empower creative generators with entrepreneurial skills. The idea-to-investment transitional project is designed to boost India’s flourishing creative export market. The British Council programme was developed in partnership with the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Creative Industries Development Agency, UK, leading UK experts and the Commonwealth Business Council. The Creative Future School has been developed by independent UK expert Lee Corner, Sian Prime of NESTA and Professor Ramnath Narayanswamy of the IIMB for the British Council.

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